On March 12, we asked readers of Extra Bases to submit questions to Dustin Pedroia. Nearly 200 of you did.
Narrowing them down to a handful was a challenge and, please, take no offense if your question wasn't chosen. Dustin agreed to sit down on Sunday morning to answer the best of the bunch and Jacoby Ellsbury chimed in, too.
Here is the audio of the conversation we had:
Tom from Norwalk: I would like to know if Dustin had a favorite player growing up (besides himself). Also, what was his favorite team back then?
Dustin: "Barry Bonds and the Giants."
Hack from Washington: Do you hear people yelling nasty things, or can you simply block them out? Your style makes you a target for the opposition.
Dustin: "No one really says (anything). They kind of lay off me for some reason, I don't know why. I think some fans like the way I play. I play hard so I think they give me a get out of jail free card or something. I don't know, man. They kind of leave me alone."
Follow-up question: Do you hear anything when people yell at you?
Dustin: "You hear it. But to be honest with you, even the Yankees fans, they lay off me."
Al from New Bedford: Who is the best player in the league? And you can't say yourself!
Dustin: "In the American League? There's a lot of good players. Probably Joe Mauer, he won the MVP last year."
Rosenblatt from Beverly: Are you keeping the same songs on your walk up to the plate as last year, or are you changing them up at all?
Dustin: "I'm changing them."
Follow-up question: Do you know what they are?
Dustin: "Not yet, not yet. But I'm going to change them. I don't know yet."
Steve in New York: When I walk into your house, how long does it take before I see the MVP award?
Dustin: "Probably a while. It's in a closet right now. I'm hiding it in case somebody breaks into my house. It's not really an impressive a trophy anyway."
Erik from Hawaii: What do you do to pass the time on plane rides?
Dustin: "I play backgammon with Mike Lowell or I play backgammon with Jacoby."
Follow-up question: Who wins when you play backgammon"
Because Jacoby was standing right there, I asked him if that were true.
WJ from Vermont: What's the funniest thing an opposing player has said to you out at second base?
Dustin: "Orlando Hudson, when I was playing against him in '08, said, 'You remind me of a young O-Dog.' "
Jason from Vermont: During spring training, you've gotten to play with a lot of the up and coming players in the Sox farm system. Who were you most impressed by and think could make a big impact on the Sox (in the next year or two)?
Dustin: "Yeah, we have a ton of guys. Casey Kelly looked good. (Jose) Iglesias looked good. There's a lot of young guys that we have that are probably a year or two away but they look real good."
Follow-up question: "Is there anybody you seeing coming up to help the team this year or next?
Dustin: "Those two guys. Shoot, I don't know. Tell them to ask Theo."
A lot of people asked: What advice would you give their son or daughter who is the smallest kid on their team but wants to be one of the best?
Dustin: "Just have fun. You don't have to be very big to play baseball. If you're a good player, don't worry about not getting looked at when you're that age. When you grow up you'll get checked out. You don't have to be the strongest or tallest guy to play baseball."
Follow-up question: "Did you ever feel you had to out-work people?
Dustin: "Yeah, I always worked hard. But I loved playing baseball, that's why I worked hard. I just kind of figured it out. My parents, they told me whatever you do, do it 100 percent. That's probably why I play."
Thanks to everybody who sent in questions and thanks especially to Dustin for being gracious enough to answer. We're hoping to do this with another player next month.