In the world of professional sports, it's not easy to get taken seriously when you're only 5-foot-9. You simply look so tiny on television. Fans are used to watching giant hulks competing against each other, so even though 5-9 is the average height for males in the U.S., any player less than 6 feet tall looks a bit ridiculous on screen. When you're standing at bat and the catcher and umpire are nearly as tall as you when crouching down, how is anyone supposed to take you seriously?
Such is the burden borne by Dustin Pedroia. He's not the shortest player to appear in the majors this year -- that honor goes to Danny Herrera (5-5) on the Milwaukee Brewers -- nor is he that short by the standards of other middle infielders. Jimmy Rollins, Chone Figgins, Rafael Furcal and Brian Roberts are all about equal in stature, and haven't faced the same level of size jokes as the Red Sox second baseman.
But Pedroia is something that none of those players have ever been: a superstar.
Don't get me wrong: I know all five of those players have been stars at some point. Rollins, Furcal and Roberts have all had solid careers, and Figgins had a few great seasons as well. But I'm talking about superstars, the handful of players who are undeniably the best in the game. Albert Pujols, Jose Bautista, Evan Longoria, Adrian Gonzalez -- you know, those kind of players.
Why does Pedroia deserve to be lumped in with this group?
Let's take a cloer look.