Will Middlebrooks celebrates ‘three homers, two streakers and seven paper airplanes’
|04.07.13 at 9:00 pm ET|
Sure, there were the three homers, something that he’d never before done as a professional. But the memories of going deep three times were only part of what made it such a memorable day for Will Middlebrooks in a 13-0 Red Sox blowout over the Blue Jays.
“It felt like a normal day. It ended up being a special day,” Middlebrooks said on the WEEI postgame show following his epic game. “Three homers, two streakers and about seven paper airplanes on the field. It was a crazy day all around.”
The three homers were self-explanatory — Middlebrooks blasted a first-pitch fastball straight down the right field line for a two-run homer against Blue Jays starter R.A. Dickey in his first at-bat, unloaded on another Dickey fastball (on a 3-2 count) for a two-run homer to the second deck in left-center and then unloaded on a 3-1 fastball from reliever Dave Bush for another homer, just over the wall in left-center, for his third homer of the game.
For a moment, it appeared that the third baseman — who swatted 15 homers in 75 games last year, and became the first Red Sox since Dustin Pedroia in 2010 to go deep three times in a game — might have connected for a fourth longball, but his bid to left field against a Bush curveball died on the warning track.
“They must have turned the A/C off on me. They didn’t want me to get that one,” Middlebrooks said on the postgame show of the wind vectors inside Rogers Centre. “[The other Red Sox players said] the weight room was unlocked if I wanted to go in between innings.”
The day was made all the more memorable by virtue of the on-field extracurriculars. With the Jays getting humiliated, the hail of paper airplanes that cascaded to the field throughout the series continued, with Middlebrooks not only cleaning up a number of them but even pocketing a couple.
There was more. Fans ran on the field until they were taken down by security. One approached Middlebrooks, evidently seeking a handshake.
“He said he was happy to meet me, and then he got tackled. He started to say something else, but then he got drilled,” Middlebrooks told reporters. “That was a good tackle. Blind-sided him. He didn’t really see it coming. He had his hand out for me. Got pretty close. I didn’t know if he was going to make it. I was trying to time it out of the corner of my eye. I was like, ‘Am I going to have to shake this guy’s hand?’ But they had my back.”
Presumably, any number of members of the Red Sox might have done the same. After all, Middlebrooks had theirs — to the tune of three homers (he became the youngest member of the Sox to launch three homers in a game since Jim Rice in 1977), 14 total bases (tied for the fourth most ever by a Red Sox since at least 1916, a mark previously achieved by Fred Lynn (16), Dustin Pedroia (15), John Valentin (15), Carl Yastrzemski (14) and Norm Zauchin (14)).
While the single day represented one of tremendous offensive accomplishment, however, the Sox feel even better about the fact that Middlebrooks’ impact was not limited to that single facet. Manager John Farrell noted that Middlebrooks also made some strong plays at third base, and suggested that the total impact he had on the contest underscored his significance to the Red Sox in 2013 and beyond.
“He’s an all-around player, a guy that profiles the position to a tee,” Farrell told reporters of his third baseman. “He’s a very good athlete. He was interrupted a year ago because of the broken wrist but he’s clearly back with no restrictions.”
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