The date is October 20th, 2007, in the midst of the American League Championship Series between the Boston Red Sox and the Cleveland Indians. On a brisk fall night at The World’s Most Beloved Ball Park J.D. Drew steps to the plate in the first inning of Game 6 with the bases juiced.
“Oh great. This overpaid, emotionless stiff again. Why couldn’t we have kept Trot Nixon? Now that guy was a dirt dog,” said every Boston Red Sox fan everywhere.
With one swing of the bat all was forgotten.
That’s just how it is sometimes. Replacing a local legend isn’t easy, especially when the legion of fans consider you overpaid, injury prone, and relatively underwhelming. Red Sox fans were comfortable with Trot Nixon. He showed up to work everyday. The Boston “B” on his helmet was barely visible beneath the globs of pine-tar. He was always going to be second in line if Alex Rodriquez or any New York Yankee needed to get put in their place (first in line was Jason Varitek of course). Five years and 70 million dollars later Drew is calling the vast, oddly shaped right field in Fenway home and nobody knew exactly how to feel about it.
Bringing Danny Amendola on board after watching Wes Welker pack his bags and move out to Denver felt a lot like it did with the Nixon to Drew change over. It was not a change that Patriots fans were prepared for. After two full seasons with Amendola on the roster it appears that Julian Edelman was best suited to slide into Welker’s role as Tom Brady’s security blanket. To this point in his Patriots career Amendola has at times appeared to be a waste of a roster spot. But things seem to be changing right before our very eyes.
Saying Amendola showed up in the Divisional round matchup against the Baltimore Ravens would be an understatement, ending the night with five catches for 81 yards and two touchdown’s. Brady appears comfortable with him, and if the Ravens game wasn’t his J.D. Drew “I’m actually kind of glad we have that guy” moment, I expect it to occur this Sunday in the Super Bowl.
If the Seahawks matchup across the field without any major wrinkles in their scheme we will likely see Amendola with the most favorable matchup for most of the game. Brady will seek out Jeremy Lane, a guy who might be not understand what he is up against considering his recent slander of Rob Gronkowski. Lane is an outside corner forced into the slot due to the elite talent the Seahawks have on the outside and Amendola might be the one who draws that matchup most frequently. I expect him to capitalize.