During his impressive career with the Red Sox, Dustin Pedroia had a front-row seat when players like Jason Varitek, Mike Lowell, Tim Wakefield and David Ortiz had their retirement ceremonies.
This time, it will be Pedroia who is the center of attention in a ceremony that will take place prior to Friday night’s game at Fenway Park against the Yankees.
After four years of chronic pain in his left knee, Pedroia retired on Feb. 1.
Pedroia can only wonder what it will be like to get his official send-off from the only team and fanbase he ever played for in his 14-year career.
“I don’t know. I tried to ask them questions about what they’re doing, but they haven’t really given me any answers. I don’t really know what to expect,” said Pedroia. “Obviously I haven’t played in about a year and a half with my injuries and stuff. It should be fun. I’m excited just to see Fenway and get back out there and see the fans and everything. It should be a good time.”
For manager Alex Cora, it will be a thrill for him to see his former teammate and close friend get the applause he deserves from what is expected to be the biggest crowd of the season so far at Fenway.
“It will be fun just to have Pedey there, and obviously it should be a packed house finally at Fenway,” said Cora. “That’s what he deserves. I’m actually looking forward for him to be around. Just the fact that he’s going to be in Fenway and people are going to be able to recognize a great career is going to be amazing.”
Though many of Pedroia’s former teammates are now elsewhere, those who remain (Xander Bogaerts, Rafael Devers, Matt Barnes, Christian Vázquez, Brandon Workman) feel like they are in for a treat.
“He means a lot for us, for the guys that played with him,” said Vázquez. “He taught us to play the game the right way every day, every day to play the game hard. It means a lot for us [to see the ceremony].”
Though Pedroia isn’t working in any kind of official capacity for the Red Sox yet, it is all but certain he will once his kids get older.
He is keeping tabs on the team on television from Arizona and is enthused by its strong start to the season.
“They’re one of the best teams in baseball,” Pedroia said. “Obviously a long way to go, but keep it going and we’ll see where it is at the end. They’re just showing up every day to win a baseball game. That’s what you do, and they’re fun to watch. It looks like the team has come together, and they play the game the right way and it’s exciting.”