10/23/07 11:00 AM ET
Heart of the Order: Dustin Pedroia
By Ian Browne / MLB.com
"I'm proud of the whole organization for drafting that kid and developing him and I'm also proud of him for all the hard work and defying the odds and not listening to his critics along the way," said Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein. "Every time he gets criticized for being too small or too something, it makes him try harder."
Pedroia is, well, cocky, but as Curt Schilling recently said, it's cockiness in "a good way." As much as the Red Sox ride Pedroia -- he's a dartboard of clubhouse quips -- any teammate would be the first to rush to his defense if the occasion called for it.
Ever the competitor, Pedroia will engage a teammate in any competition he can find. In the visitors clubhouse in Cleveland this year, Pedroia beat someone in a game of ping pong and triumphantly announced to anyone in earshot that "There's a new champ today, boys."
Pedroia plays cribbage with Francona and third baseman Mike Lowell on a near daily basis and there are constant bragging rights at stake from all corners. Growing up in the Bay Area, Pedroia roots for the Sacramento Kings and San Francisco 49ers. He lists movies, reality shows and PlayStation 2 among his hobbies.
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.