When former Indians heartthrob Grady Sizemore signed with the Red Sox this past winter, I had high hopes he would hit well at Fenway Park. Wade Boggs made himself a Hall of Famer by hitting doubles off the “Green Monster.” (Contrary to popular mythology, Fenway Park benefits left-handed hitters, not righties. Ted Williams, Carl Yastrzemski, Mo Vaughn, Mike Greenwell, and Fred Lynn enjoyed success there. “Big Papi” Ortiz still does. Many righties try to crush the ball over the Monster and end up hitting weak grounders to third and shortstop).
Last night, Grady’s 12th inning single off the bottom of the Monster gave the Red Sox a 4-3 walk-off win over the Cincinnati Reds. So often in the past he, as a member of the visiting Indians, had to watch the Fenway faithful celebrate a Red Sox victory, accompanied by the Standells’ “Dirty Water” blaring all over the ballpark and the Back Bay neighborhoods. Now, he is with an organization that has won three World Series since 2004, not one that has zero World Series titles since 1948. For him, hearing “Dirty Water” now spells victory, not defeat.
For a brief moment, in the bottom of the 12th inning, we were treated to a glimpse of the “Old Grady.” Nevertheless, he is the “New Grady.” He is no longer the focal point. It is not likely he will ever hit .300 with 25-30 HRs and 90-100 RBI. But his comeback from a two-season absence (since 2011) is nothing short of miraculous. For that, he can thank the God that gave him his ability, his work ethic, the Red Sox, and a 37-foot high “Green Monster” that would like nothing better than to see him pepper it with doubles and singles.