Dustin Pedroia’s pre-game celebration Friday night truly had a little bit of everything.
A red-carpet walk-in, and a roaring crowd that took full advantage of the fully open Fenway Park to show their appreciation for the longtime fan-favorite.
Video montages from former manager Terry Francona, his college coach Pat Murphy, and former Red Sox TV voice Dan Orsillo that had Pedroia wiping his eyes frequently.
He even got a visit from wrestling legend Ric Flair, who strolled out of the center field tunnel sporting an absurdly large title belt and giving the crowd his signature “Woo” after embracing the guest of honor.
But Red Sox legend and old teammate David Ortiz stole the show as usual.
Oritz, who couldn’t make it to the game himself while recovering from surgery, delivered a recorded message for Pedroia that had the longtime Red Sox second baseman especially emotional.
“If there was one teammate that I would pick to play the rest of my career with, that would be you, bro,” Ortiz said over the Fenway Park video board.
But Pedroia revealed to reporters that the touching tribute wasn’t the first conversation the two Sox had together on Friday.
“I went over and saw him today, spent about an hour-and-a-half with him,” Pedroia said after the ceremony.
The reason: he was nervous.
“I’ve obviously dealt with a lot. I thought it was too soon for me to come back,” he admitted. “Since I got hurt, it’s been tough on me. I wanted to stay away and just deal with it. So I went and saw him and was like, ‘David, I’m nervous. How do I tell the fans and everybody here how much I cared about them for 17 years of my life? … This place meant the world to me.'”
Ortiz had a simple answer for his old teammate: “He goes, ‘They already know that.’
“It kind of made me relax…He calmed me down. The message he said, that’s how I knew I did it right. That’s pretty special to me.”
Of course, the two championship teammates had some fun at each other’s expense as well.
The hulking former first baseman/designated hitter made sure to get off a “Pee Wee” joke about Pedroia near the beginning of his video tribute — “That’s his go-to.”
Meanwhile, the diminutive infielder got a chuckle out of Ortiz being the only video tribute that had subtitles at the bottom.
“Legendary,” Pedroia said. “Whoever did that, that is awesome. That’s pretty good.”