A new leader is discovered
When Mike Lowell got hit in the back of the helmet on Friday evening, silencing Fenway Park, and then electing to stay in the game, and then, two innings later, diving into the stands to catch a foul ball, and then a half inning later, pounding a single off the wall, and then, in a shocker of all shockers, stealing third, I don’t think that he was consciously trying to become a leader of the Boston Red Sox.
But that is precisely what he did in the span of just an hour or so. As we’ve discussed over the last couple of days, this was the lowest point of the season. When things are that bad, somebody needs to step up.
In 2004, Jason Varitek stuck his mitt in A-Rod’s face, and the first seeds of a championship season were planted. This time, during this crucial point of adversity, Varitek was on the DL, which is why so much of the adversity existed in the first place.
So Lowell inspired a crowd and a dugout full of teammates by shaking off the rattling he had to feel in his head after getting struck by that 91-MPH fastball and staying in the game. And he inspired all of those same people again when he flew into those stands Jeter-style and caught that ball as if the season depended on it. That is playing baseball with urgency and showing everyone what it takes to win this time of year.
To me, Mike Lowell has been a guy steadily growing into this leadership role all year long. This guy is a class act in every sense of the word. He "gets it", he’s always thinking about his team. He’s one of those guys that’s impossible for a teammate not to like.
And tonight, four months into his time with the Red Sox, he officially stamped himself as someone who will do anything to win, playing with passion that is only matched by the city he plays in.
Maybe Lowell’s performance tonight will bring this team together like Varitek did in ’04. Maybe it won’t. Either way, everyone now knows that the Red Sox have found another full-fledged leader in the absence of the captain.