I’ll miss the Pokester.
Although injuries and the emergence of The Bell as RSN’s new cult hero limited his playing time in 2004, he leaves us with some indelible images. First, the catch — a leap so preposterously bad-assed, you almost expected a post-game conference with George Lucas, in which he explained how, through the use of sophisticated CGI technology and blue screens, he made it appear as if Pokey had actually leapt up and snagged that f–ker [and then replaced the guy who hit the ball -- future teammate Dave Roberts -- with Greedo.]
Then there was his inside the park job against KC, and the visual of Poke gliding magic ass across the plate before collapsing in the dirt [as thousands of delirious, arm-waving fans watching at home hit the shag in full flace plant] is forever burned into my skull. As let’s not forget the time he went tumbling into the stands at Yankee Stadium to snare a pop up. Or the night he pulled out his cornrows to unleash The Killer ‘Fro.
He also earned a permanent place in every Red Sox highlight reel from now until the Earth explodes, by handling the final ground out of the 2004 ALCS.
What I’ll miss most are the intangibles — the general “Pokey-ness” he brought to the team that helped defined this loosey-goosey, we-may-be-drunk-right-now-or-perhaps-we’re-not bunch. Man, he was killing us with the bat, but in the field, dude was like a ball-eating android [and not like the one Richard Simmons was arrested for building, mind you].
I would have loved to have seen a full season of the OC at short and Poke at second. Scoring some tickets to the M’s first visit to Fenway and having the chance to give the Pokester some standing O love will have to do.