Oh, put me in, coach. I’m ready to play, today. Put me in, coach. I’m ready to play, today. Look at me, I can be centerfield. -John Fogerty
What’s crack-a-lacking sports fans? I’ll tell you what’s crack-a-lacking. Jacoby Ellsbury is crack-a-lacking. That’s right, Jacoby Ellsbury. Attention please, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, welcome to Fenway Park. Now leading off, Ellsbury, center field, Ellsbury. Ahhh, center field. Once, the most glamorous position in all of baseball. Once the most the strawberry jamerous positon in all of baseball. Dare I say it? Once the grand slamerous position in all of baseball. Once. You shouldn’t grab me, Johnny. My mother grabbed me once…Once! It used to mean something to be the best center fielder in baseball. Like it used to mean something to be the Heavyweight Champion of the World. Like it used to mean something to be the Fastest Man Alive. I still think it means something, dammit. I’m Gumby dammit.
- There was Ty Cobb. A man so good that Joe DiMaggio once said, “Every time I hear of this guy again, I wonder how he was possible.”
- There was Joltin’ Joe hisself. The Yankee Clipper covered so much ground in center field that the only way to get a hit against the Bombers was to hit ‘em where Joe wasn’t.
- There was Willie Mays. Say hey! The best centerfielder who has ever been borned. Where triples went to die.
- There was the Mick and the Duke.
- Jimmy Wynn and Freddy Lynn.
- Cool Papa Bell, so fast he could turn off the light and be in bed before the room got dark.
- More recently, we’ve had Kirby, Junior and Ichiro.
That brings us to this. Who is the best centerfielder today? Matt Kemp just became only the second Dodger to hit 20 homers and steal 20 bases before the All-Star break. Curtis Granderson has been coming on like gangbusters, among the league leaders in all power categories. Josh Hamilton continues to be the story of all stories; part Roy Hobbs, part Paul Bunyan. But for my money, Jacoby Ellsbury is the best CF in the MLB.
We all know about his proficiency on the basepaths. There hasn’t been this much excitement on the basepaths around Fenway Park since 1973. Since Tommy Harper. Tommy Harper may never have been allowed to join the Elks, but in 1973, he led the American League and set the Red Sox single season stolen base record with fifty-four. Jacoby Ellsbury didn’t just break Tommy’s record, he shattered it. He has 28 stolen this season already and shows no signs of slowing down.
But Jacoby Ellsbury is doing more than just stealing bases. A lot more. Jo DiMaggio once said, “You look forward to baseball like a birthday party when you’re a kid. You think something wonderful is going to happen.” Jacoby Ellsbury makes wonderful things happen. He makes things happen with his glove. Heard it in a glove song. Heard it in a glove song. Heard it in a glove song. Can’t be wrong. No it can’t. In the field, backed by his blazing speed, Ellsbury had no problem diving onto the warning-track dirt or into a patch of grass to make a highlight-reel catch. His glove-work in center got him enough notice to already have been once selected as the Defensive Player of the Year in MLB.com’s annual This Year in Baseball Awards. How about that?
How about this: At bat he’s joke either. His two jacks last night are just the latest examples of Jacoby’s stick. The man of the hour, tower of power, he’ll devour. He’s gonna tie you up and let you understand that he’s not your average man when he’s got a baseball bat in his hands. DAAAAAM!!!!! Don’t believe me? Ellsbury’s two bombs from last night give him 15 on the season. Just so you know, among the Red Sox, only David Ortiz and Adrian Gonzalez have more. Just so you know too, Jacoby also has more dings than A-Rod, Matt Holliday, Jayson Werth and Adam Dunn.
Aside from his newly found power, Ellsbury does all the little things. He’s patient. He bunts for base hits. He fouls off pitches. He hits to the other side. He slices. He dices. He Juliennes. It’s amazing to me this kid does not get the pub he deserves. No respect I tellya. With his wife, he made a toast on her birthday to the best woman a man ever had.’ The waiter joined him. No respect at all. I’m giving him respect. I’m calling the best center fielder in the game.
Peace out homies. Six two and even!