Rookie Ellsbury steals the heart of Red Sox Nation

By Denebola
Published: December 2007

By Laura Glick

Boston Red Sox rookie Jacoby Ellsbury stood tall, proud, and relaxed atop a platform at Lasell College in Auburndale on December 7. Arriving in a limo with a small committee of public relations personnel, Ellsbury walked in to a standing audience made up of about 75 members of the Lasell College community and surrounding areas.
He started off by explaining how he experienced a miracle, going from being ridiculed to a member of the 2007 Boston Red Sox World Series roster.
Ellsbury was born in Madras, Oregon, a small farming town in the Oregon high desert. As a young boy, he was forced to endure derision from both his classmates and his teammates.
When he was in second grade, his teacher asked him what his life goal was, “I want to be a professional baseball player,” Ellsbury quickly responded. His entire class pointed at him laughing.
A few years later, when he was just ten years old, he was ridiculed yet another time. While Ellsbury was on a little league team, a parent of an opponent screamed “Jacoby’s nothing” which immediately sparked Ellsbury to hit a long homerun over the centerfield wall.
He slowly walked up to the plate for his second at bat, glaring at the audience, only to hear the same phrase “Jacoby’s nothing” come from the same father. As the ball came toward the plate, he swung and ripped a line-drive homerun over the fence.
Ellsbury attended Oregon State where he received a varsity letter in football and was named an All-American baseball star, both in his freshman year. He had a memorable college career, leading the Oregon State Beavers to the College World Series in 2005.
Also in 2005, Ellsbury was drafted 23rd in the first round by the Boston Red Sox. He was later invited by manager Terry Francona to attend spring training with the team. “This was a big deal since not everybody was invited to tryout at spring training,” Ellsbury said.
However, he did not make the Red Sox at the beginning of the year and was sent down to the AA team in Portland, Oregon. He was quickly called up to Pawtucket, where he was chosen to play in the All-Star Futures Game and was named Defensive Player of the Year and Base-runner of the Year.
On June 30, Ron Johnson, the coach of the Pawtucket AAA team, called Ellsbury and said, “Where are you? You need to get your butt here.” When Ellsbury arrived at the field in a simple T-shirt and shorts, Johnson said “you are batting 9th, playing outfield for the Boston Red Sox.”
“I was about ready to throw up because I was so nervous and excited,” Ellsbury said.
As he entered Fenway Park, he saw his clean cubby complete with a spotless number 46 Red Sox Jersey. “I had no choice what number I would be but I was not going to be picky,” Ellsbury said.
Before Ellsbury’s Major League debut, the all-star pitcher, Josh Beckett was to be on the mound. Already carrying a load of stress on his back, Ellsbury was approached by Beckett.
He immediately asked Ellsbury whether it was his first game. Ellsbury responded “yeah.” Becket than asked if it was his debut” to which Ellsbury again said “yeah.” With a serious face, Beckett added “you better not mess up.”
Ellsbury was able to put Beckett’s remarks behind him when he ran across Fenway Park, greeted by a standing ovation of the 36,747 fans that were in attendance. Although, the Red Sox lost that night, a new star was born in the eyes of Red Sox fans around the world.
Ellsbury was sent back to the Pawtucket before he was called up again in September where he was put on the World Series roster. “The veteran guys like Mike Lowell, Jason Varitek, and David Ortiz congratulated me and said before I started a postseason game ‘have fun, go out and play hard.’ That meant a lot to me. The guys are so confident and relaxed which gave me comfort,” Ellsbury said.
“I dreamed of playing in the World Series my whole life. I never thought it would happen this early in my career. You can’t explain what it was like to be in the outfield in such a crucial game” Ellsbury said of game six of the ALCS.
Winning the World Series was “a dream come true,” Ellsbury said. When asked about becoming a Major League player at the age of 23, however, he said he “did it for the kids on the Native American reservation and I hope it brings light and makes a positive impact on them.”
Although he was never hindered by the fact that he grew up with Native American blood he said that he “is proud to be the first Major League player of Navajo descent.”
When Ellsbury was asked about the possibility of being traded to Minnesota this off-season, he said, “I’d like to stay in Boston with the great relationships I’ve made and the even better fans but it’s out of my hands. My hands are pretty much tied behind my back.”
Ellsbury exudes an aura of confidence and is an incredible ball player. Red Sox Nation is looking forward to his continuous progress and success in the near future.

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