An Open Letter To Jacoby Ellsbury
While the Red Sox 2013 World Series victory is still fresh in our memories, there is no rest for the weary in the Red Sox front office. Free Agency kicked off this week and the Red Sox have a handful of eligible Free Agents, most notably, Jacoby Ellsbury. Though David Ortiz and Dustin Pedroia are the main ingredients in the Red Sox fiery, Jacoby Ellsbury is the “SPARQ” that ignites that flame! (inside joke)
In today’s MLB, players come and go. Gone are the days when most of the star players play for one team throughout their careers. That is why those players tend to become revered as iconic ambassadors for their team and its city, much more frequently and passionately than those players who are more transient. Admittedly, I am more of a traditionalist who values such characteristics as loyalty and passion when it comes to sports and quite frankly, in life in general. Whether it’s coaching, playing or my business career, these qualities are high on my list. In today’s professional sports, loyalty is sorely lacking from both athlete and owner, but we all know that loyalty truly cuts both ways. Unfortunately, sports are a microcosm of life and that same loyalty is lacking in today’s society, too, as many of us have found out the hard way. Perhaps that’s why I admire and respect loyalty so much from today’s professional athletes, especially when a player opts for loyalty and stability and forgoes a bigger payday. (see Tom Brady) After all, how much money is enough? I mean, the average MLB salary in 2012 was $3.2 million, which is more than the average person will make in their lifetime.
Getting back to Jacoby Ellsbury, I think the vast majority of Red Sox Nation wants Ellsbury to stay in Boston. He is a catalyst and a star who already owns a handful of Red Sox records. The odds are against him opting for a ‘home town discount’ because that is not his agent’s style. Scott Boras, Ellsbury’s agent, has a reputation of delivering his players the huge bucks, no matter what the cost, the player’s soul included! But I am hoping that Jacoby is amongst those players who realize that their place in this game far out lasts their dollar value when it is all said and done! That’s why I think his place is with the Red Sox, long term. His accumulated ‘historic’ value with one team over his career will be much richer than those same values spread out over two or three teams. We’re talking baseball values here, not monetary value. And I believe every ballplayer dreams of being revered, now and well after they retire. Jacoby’s best shot is to remain in Boston for a long, long time!
So, with that, I send out my ‘Top Ten Reasons to Stay in Boston” to Jacoby Ellsbury!
10) You were drafted by the Red Sox and have grown up in the organization, from day one! It’s in your blood, that Red Sox red blood runs through you now and forever!
9) Where better for a Native American to play than in Massachusetts, the birthplace of Thanksgiving and the most historic coming together of Native Americans & Pilgrims.
8) Oh and the team once had a cryptic nickname back in 1907, Pilgrims, so there’s that whole Native American-Pilgrim tie again!
7) Boston fans have pushed your jersey sales into top 20 of MLB in recent years, now that’s love! Plus, we know what SPARQ is!
6) Your wife Kelsey has a deep, emotional bond with Boston, having run the Boston Marathon, ‘nuff said! #BostonStrong
5) You are a season or two from passing Harry Hooper as the All-Time Red Sox leader in stolen bases (300) which has stood since 1920 and eventually you could double that record WHEN you finish your career in Boston! WOW! Can you say LEGACY?
4) Legends, Iconic Legends, rarely split their career down the middle with more than one team. #RedSox #Yaz #TeddyBallgame #JimRice
3) How will you ever learn to dip without your buddy Pedey?
2) Do you remember catching that FEVER BACK when you were playing in the Cape League and you came to Fenway Park? Remember how that energy captivated you so much that you began wearing your Sox hat back in Oregon, before you were even drafted, especially during games as the Sox mounted an comeback in the ALCS against the Yankees on the way to their first World Series in 86 years? Well dude, that makes you a lifer, it’s in your blood! And that means you’ve been a part of the Red Sox family for three World Series and will be for life!
1) Because there are no redo’s in baseball or life! You may think the grass is greener, you might think you can get a little more money, you might hope that you can put up star numbers elsewhere and you might believe you can win elsewhere…and finally, you may long to be as appreciated and loved by a new fan base, but in truth, the odds are long and there is no turning back the clock once you’re gone! At the end of the day, when we’ve reached the late innings of our lives, one of the things that matters most are the footprints of our lives. Did we live our lives with integrity and trueness to our ideals free of regret? If so, then respect follows! …or did we sell out under a false blanket of “respect” or “peer status” born out of instant gratification? Unlike the misguided interpretation of the word “respect” perpetuated by greedy agents that equates respect to money, society does not share that same interpretation. Respect is and always will be about VALUES, not MONEY and must be earned, not handed over on payday!
Jacoby, maybe this is the moment, here and now, that you may wish that you could go back to someday, in order to make a different choice. Use that moment now, to look at the bigger picture, as if you have come back in time and have a second chance to weigh your decision to stay in Boston or to follow the herd and pursue the dollar over stability, loyalty and integrity! It’s your legacy, only you get to write it…how will you ‘right’ it?
Here’s to hoping that you, Jacoby, can take a step back and truly evaluate what’s best for you, your career and your lasting legacy. You have been a solid role model for so many young athletes because of the way you play the game and because of your character and passion. You can be an even bigger role model to young and not so young, by shunning instant gratification and instead, light SPARQ by following your true values!
Tell Jimmy Derochea what you think:
Jimmy is a Boston-based writer who attributes his eternal optimism to having grown up a rabid Red Sox fan, which meant learning to endure heartache after heartache by looking forward to the next season with blind hope!