CLEVELAND – He came. He saw. He conquered.
Now Jacoby Ellsbury needs to move on.
The Sox’ speedy centerfielder has watched the replay of his steal of home in the fifth inning of Boston’s 4-1 win over New York over and over on TV. He received quite a few text messages and phone calls about his straight steal, the first since Billy Hatcher did it for the Sox in April of 1994. So now Ellsbury’s got to “turn the page” as players often say and concentrate on the rest of his season starting with the Indians tonight.
“I got quite a bit, mainly text messages,” said Ellsbury. “They knew I wouldn’t answer their phone calls. And they knew I was traveling right after the game but I texted everybody back. I probably had over 30 the most since the World Series.” he said he didn’t receive any messages from anyone in baseball but rather “just friends.”
He said he’s seen the steal “a few times” and reiterated he made the decision to go on the pitch before from Andy Pettitte..
“I knew if he was going into his windup again, I was going to take off. I saw him go into his windup on the second pitch of the AB. I knew I had a great shot at making it and if I didn’t, I never would have went in that situation, bases loaded, two outs in a 2-1 ballgame. But I knew I could make it.”
Ellsbury said on Sunday night that he would certainly try it again if the situation was as perfect as it was Sunday night. In that case lefthanded hitter J.D. Drew was up, the Yankees were shifting with Drew up so there was no third baseman to keep Ellsbury’s lead honest at third and Pettitte wasn’t really concentrating too much on the runners, but rather trying to retire Drew with the third out.
“It doesn’t happen too often. It’s more about that no fear of going. There are probably times when I could have done it before but I knew I could make it this time so, but I don’t think the opportunity arises that often,” he said.
About trying to move on, he said, “It was pretty neat. I’m not gonna lie about that. But yeah, we got to play today and go out there and play hard.”
Ellsbury won’t soon forget the excitement he felt, the excitement of his teammates and the electricity at Fenway.
“They (teammates) were pretty fired up in the dugout about it. You don’t se that excitement too often. Obviously it was an exciting series so that excitement level was there. It was nice to see the fans’ reaction.”
Sox manager Terry Francona said he didn’t get to watch the steal again much because the team didn’t get into Cleveland until about 3:00 a.m. after the late start vs. the Yankees Sunday night. What seems to impress Francona more is that Ellsbury is getting on base, using all fields and stating to show consistency in getting on base and making things happen.
Francona wants Ellsbury to be a player who can be a game-changer and affect the way the pitcher approaches the hitter when Ellsbury is one the basepaths. That’s what Ellsbury can do and surely did Sunday night.
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