Ortiz, Pedroia happy to be together at All-Star Game
Big Papi having more fun after being alone at '12 Midsummer Classic
NEW YORK -- At one post was the biggest and most gregarious member of the Red Sox. That's David Ortiz, still going strong after all these years.
A few feet away from Big Papi was little Dustin Pedroia, the second baseman who leads the Red Sox with his bat, glove, legs and heart.
Ortiz and Pedroia proudly represented their team during Monday's All-Star Game media day festivities, glad that they could once again share a limelight experience.
"It's been great," Pedroia said. "He's helped me out a ton. He's always had my back. He's a great teammate. He's family. He knows how I feel about him. It's kind of hard talking about it -- know what I mean?"
In 2007, they won a World Series together. They came one rally short of advancing to another Fall Classic a year later.
Now in their seventh season as teammates, Ortiz and Pedroia had a little extra enthusiasm on the All-Star stage this time around (watch the game on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. ET on FOX).
They want to win another ring for Boston, and know they are at least in position to give it a good run.
At 58-39, the Red Sox hold the best record in the American League at the All-Star break.
"We're playing well right now," said Ortiz, a nine-time All-Star. "I'll tell you one thing that I'm all about right now is getting another ring. That's something that is hard to get."
Pedroia might have thought it was easy when he won one in his rookie year and came close again in '08. Now, he is part of one of those teams again that has a chance to do something special.
"It's fun. We've played well the first half -- not just the three guys that are here, but everybody," said four-time All-Star Pedroia. "We've done it as a team. It's great to represent the Red Sox. Hopefully our first half, the way we played, continues on to the second half and we keep winning a lot of ballgames."
The balance of Boston's 2013 edition has been impressive to watch. But when it comes down to crunch time, Ortiz and Pedroia will be the two hitters the Red Sox count on most.
"It's awesome," said Clay Buchholz, Boston's third All-Star, who is on the disabled list. "They've both had awesome seasons so far and they're not showing any signs of stopping."
At the age of 37, Ortiz looks as polished at the plate as at any point in is career. In the early stages of both 2009 and '10, Ortiz struggled so mightily that there was talk that his career was winding down.
Again, there were some doubts this spring, when Ortiz was still hobbling from an Achilles injury that wiped out his final 10 weeks of 2012. And again, Ortiz came back swinging, showing he is still one of the elite hitters in the game.
Nobody has enjoyed watching the resurgence of the big slugger more than Pedroia.
"When he came back, he's been a force. Every at-bat, it seems like he's hitting the ball on the barrel and either driving the ball out of the ballpark or into the gap," Pedroia said. "He's running good. He's a huge reason why our offense has been so great all year."
At some point, Pedroia will play on a team without Ortiz and it will be strange. Big Papi has always been Pedroia's protector in the batting order, usually hitting right behind him.
"Our job is to get on base, because if we're on base, he's going to drive us in," said Pedroia. "He's been doing that for a long time. His at-bats are always quality. He understands if guys are pitching around him, things like that. If you're smart and have ability, you're dangerous."
As gifted a hitter as Pedroia is, he clearly gets a charge out of watching Ortiz go to work.
"He's been great for a long time. It seems like, even when he gets on his hot streaks, the times he's not feeling good, he's still walking, finding a way to drive in runs, hitting a sac fly," Pedroia said. "His process at the plate, I've learned so much from him over the years. It's pretty cool."
Ortiz was just happy to have some company at this year's All-Star festivities after experiencing the oddity of being Boston's only player in 2012.
"Being by myself was kind of boring," Ortiz said. "We flew in together and we were joking around on the airplane, me, him and Buck. Having my boys around, it's like we're in the corner right there all together just like everybody normally does it. I can have a team photo this year, you know what I'm saying? Last year, I was all by myself. I didn't take any pictures."
The final phase of All-Star Game voting will again have fans participating in the official voting for the Ted Williams All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet. During the Midsummer Classic, fans will vote exclusively online at MLB.com via the 2013 All-Star Game MLB.com MVP Vote, and their voice will represent 20 percent of the official vote determining the recipient of the Arch Ward Trophy.
The 2013 All-Star Game will be played at Citi Field on Tuesday. Come to MLB.com for extensive online coverage of the All-Star Week festivities.
The 84th All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX Sports, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 200 countries via MLB International's independent feed. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB Network and SiriusXM also will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com.