The Red Sox are entering the first quarter turn of the 2015 season, and there are questions about which direction this team is going. Is David Ortiz old? Is Mike Napoli washed up? What's with this pitching staff? It's almost like they're like a patching staff instead. Patching a win here or there, just hanging on. They just wrapped up their longest road trip with five wins and five losses, and find themselves one victory under .500.
So, what's next? Is Napoli really toast? Is Ortiz just finally old? Napoli and Ortiz went deep last night, and this was after Napoli and Dustin Pedroia had a mid flight heart to heart where Pedroia told Napoli to focus on the stuff he can do, not the stuff he can't.
What was that conversation about? Maybe it was about Jeff Frye defying all odds. Jeff Frye, a guy who missed 2 full seasons and played only 8 seasons at the major league level. What's so special about Jeff Frye? Despite missing key seasons in his career, despite being bumped out of his role by Jose Offerman, despite only hitting 16 career home runs, Jeff Frye was a winner.
What kind of winner? Jeff Frye was at the end of his career when he hit for the cycle as a member of the Toronto Blue Jays. A feat as rare as a no hitter, and Jeff Frye locked himself into a list of players that undoubtedly rests somewhere in the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Hitting for the cycle is one thing. Hitting for the cycle when you have 16 career home runs in over 2,000 at bats. More than two thirds of Frye's hits were singles. He only had 11 career triples.
On August 17, 2001, Jeff Frye made history when he hit for the cycle. He only played in six more games after his epic performance. His cycle featured his last major league career home run, double, and triple. He hit five more singles in his remaining games, but he came damn close to hitting for the cycle and dropping the mic.
How does this all connect to David Ortiz, Mike Napoli, and the 2015 Red Sox? Jeff Frye probably saw that the end was near in 2001. His numbers had decreased, so he made the best of his time and made history on August 17. He was on his way out, but he made a statement that he wasn't done until he decided.
Chances are, Napoli and Ortiz and the 2015 Red Sox are not done. They have at least a cycle left in them. In ten days we might be laughing off the notion that this year's Red Sox are toast. Hopefully the laughing begins with another win tonight.