Latest SI cover boy: The Muddy Chicken

Dustin Pedroia

Image via kwout

MINNEAPOLIS -- Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia appears on this week's cover of Sports Illustrated and is profiled in Tom Verducci's highly entertaining story entitled, "The Muddy Chicken Hits It Big.''

Among other things, Pedroia finally tells the story of how he came to be known by his nickname du jour. It happened after the Sox beat Tampa Bay, 1-0, in 16 innings last month and Darnell McDonald called him "Laser Show.'' Pedroia informed him he was done with that nickname; McDonald inquired what would he prefer to be called. Pedroia told Verducci he looked around and spotted David Ortiz eating at a neaby table.

“David was eating this chicken from the Dominican Republic,” Pedroia said. “I don’t know who he got it from. But it was [expletive] disgusting. So I said, ‘I want to be called that.’ ”

“What is that?” McDonald said.

“[Bleeping] Muddy Chicken,” Pedroia said.

“They started laughing, so they started calling me that,” he said. “And it was a 16-inning game, and I think there were some cocktails involved in some people’s interviews. That’s basically it.''

There was also this illuminating quote from Ortiz: “Let me tell you this. I don’t think there was a player born before him and I don’t think there will be a player born after him that cares about baseball more than Dustin Pedroia. I would have to see it to believe it.

“Sometimes, I’ll be honest with you, I get worried about it. He’s got a kid. He’s got a family. We travel so much and play so

much, and he’s at the ballpark so early. One time I got to the ballpark just to get there before him. And he was already there. I’ve

stopped trying to beat him. There’s no way in hell you can do it.”

According to the Sox PR staff, the Red Sox are the only team to have players from all 10 positions appear on an SI cover since 1988: C Jason Varitek, 1B Mo Vaughn, 2B Mark Bellhorn (and Pedroia), SS Nomar Garciaparra, 3B Wade Boggs, LF Manny Ramirez, CF Johnny Damon, RF Dwight Evans, DH Ortiz, and pitchers Roger Clemens, Pedro Martinez, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Curt Schilling and Jonathan Papelbon.