Middlebrooks feeling right at home

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Like a scene from the movie “The Rookie,” Red Sox rookie third baseman Will Middlebrooks emerged from the visitor’s clubhouse after his team’s 9-1 loss to the Texas Rangers on Monday night and there were hundreds of friends and family waiting for him.

The movie was based on the true story of Texas native Jim Morris (played by Dennis Quaid), who finally made it to big leagues with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays at the age of 35 and made his debut at the Ballpark in Arlington. In the movie, Quaid’s character walks out of the ballpark with the entire town waiting for him in the parking lot.

Middlebrooks, 23, reached the big leagues via the more conventional route and said there were close to 300 people from his hometown of Texarkana, which is about 2½ hours from Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, in attendance Monday night.

“It’s a lot of fun,” Middlebrooks said. “I marked my calendar last year thinking, ‘Man, I hope I can be in the big leagues by that time so I can make that trip to see and play in front of everybody.’ I was actually really relaxed. I probably had a lot of adrenaline because I wanted to go out there and do well.”

The Middlebrooks Mafia will be in force again Tuesday and Wednesday nights.

“It means a lot,” he said. “Of course you want to make the people proud you grew up around, and your family, so you feel like you did well and you’ve made them happy.”