Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Mike Lowell - Renaissance Man

Take a look at these two players and there numbers so far this year:

Player A: Avg: .330, 17 2b, 11 HR, 45 RBI, 17 Ks, OBP: .385, SLG%: .574, OPS: .959

Player B: Avg. .292, 11 2b, 12 HR, 33 RBI, 20 Ks, OBP: .378, SLG%: .517, OPS: .894

Clearly player A is having the better year but to put his statistics in context, player A is in the top ten for Home Runs, 6th in RBI, 9th in average, 6th in OPS and in 200+ ABs, he's only struck out 17 times. That's lowest strikeout rate amongst players in the top 25 OPS. Player A is Mike Lowell and player B is Albert Pujols.

Now the reason I offer Pujols as a comparison is because A.) It's a big name and is an attention drawer (though I am in NO WAY suggesting that Mike Lowell is the hitter that Pujols is. I'm merely juxtaposing their stats for the purpose of showing the outstanding year Lowell is having this year.); and B.) Pujols, while not having a huge year, is still on pace to hit near .300, drive in 100 runs and hit 35 Home Runs; which means that Lowell is on pace for even bigger things this year. Regardless of how he ends up, he's having a hell of a year and he is one of the major reasons that Manny was able to start slow, Ortiz was able to go 60 ABs without a home run, JD Drew is able to fly under the radar and the Red Sox are able to continue winning. These are things you can find in the Box Score, but there is much more to Lowell than merely his stats. Here are a few other things that Lowell has done or does:

Lowell is a cancer survivor. In 1999, he was diagnosed with testicular cancer while in Spring Training. He came back to play in May of that year and won the Tony Canigliaro Award as the player who best overcomes an obstacle or adversity.

Lowell HATES Fidel Castro. Last year after Castro became sick, Lowell, the son of a Cuban refugee, was asked what he thought about Castro's illness said, “Castro killed members of my family... I hope he does die.”

Lowell was one of the Sox who hit 4 home runs in a row on April 22nd.
But what I found most interesting about Lowell was this little ditty in Gammo's latest column about Lowell making promises to a dead girl's family:

On April 20, Courtney Butcher of Worcester, Mass., a freshman at the University of New Hampshire, called her father, Jim, to talk about the Monster seats Jim had purchased for the family for the Sunday night game. Lowell was her favorite player. That night, right after Courtney talked to her father, she and three friends were killed in an automobile accident. That Sunday night, Jim took his other children to the game. In the 4-HR inning, Lowell's shot went right to the Butcher family.

The next day, a friend of the family called Sarah Stevenson of the Red Sox, who relayed the message to Lowell, and he signed a uniform with these words: "Courtney, May God Be With You, Rest in Peace." He also sent word to Jim Butcher that he would homer for Courtney. The wake was that Tuesday, April 24, and Lowell's uniform was draped over Courtney's coffin. That night, he homered against the Blue Jays.
Ewwwwwwww K. A couple things about this disturb me about this (not the least of which being that their daughter died in a tragic car accident on the 20th and the family was at a baseball game on the 22nd), but how about Lowell pulling the Babe Ruth / Paul O'Neill via Kramer in Seinfeld move. I don't know, maybe it's just me but I'm not promising a grieving family a Home Run even if I'm playing home run derby in a little league park. Those people are clearly not dealing with this very well and Lowell's move, had it not worked out, would not have helped. I guess this is proof positive that this year he can do no wrong.

1 comment:

Derek said...

The young lady was my niece, the family did not go to that game, they weren't even the Butcher's seats. Courtney was supposed to go with some friends fron UNH and I don't even know if any of them went. Certainly no one from our family did obviously. The part about Mike Lowell stepping up and sending a jersey and his well wishes are true. Later in the year he brought the whole family and the family of one of the other victims down onto the field before a game to greet them all and bring them into the dugout etc. etc.. Total class act all they way.

You can see some of that in Rob Bradford's story in the Boston Herald.

I felt the need to write this because the last thing I wanted people to think is that Jim Butcher went to a baseball game two days after his oldest child was killed in an accident. He could barely stand never mind care about a baseball game. His kids are his life. He's a wonderful father and a wonderful person.