Laser show.

Turns out Dustin Pedroia was right. He was one of the last remaining riders on the David Ortiz Bandwagon just a few weeks ago when he promised a mob of local reporters that Ortiz would be fine, referring to his own tumultuous start as a rookie three years ago.

His slump was followed by a campaign that earned him Rookie of the Year honors and prompted him to term his propensity for whistling line drives a “laser show.”

And as we sit here several weeks later, it turns out Pedroia was right. Ortiz has since emerged from his slump and has been perhaps the most potent bat in the lineup, save for Kevin Youkilis, over the last week to 10 days.

Nobody’s intimating that Pedroia divined anything here. Ortiz has done all the hard work himself, proving a legion of media and fans alike wrong in the process. Imagine if, as the overreacting Boston press and rabid fanbase had begged, the Red Sox cut Ortiz?

I don’t want to think about it.

Ortiz has worked his average back to well over .200 and has already smoked seven home runs. His slump to start last season was almost twice as long, and yet this one felt more painful given the pouncing of the press on what many believed to be Big Papi’s carcass.

But the story here goes beyond Ortiz and to whom it was that came out and defended him.

In the first three seasons of his career, Dustin Pedroia was a Rookie of the Year, an MVP, and one of the toughest outs in baseball.

And now he’s the embodiment of a leader.

This is a Red Sox team starved for a vocal presence in the clubhouse to take command. The 2004-era team almost had too many such personalities, with the likes of Schilling, Millar, and Damon fighting for the limelight.

But this season’s team is a library to that team’s sports bar. Pedroia has stepped up and established himself as the unquestioned leader. He’s steady on the field, sturdy in character, and stoic in the face of adversity.

He also happens to have a motor that would make Kevin Garnett salivate.

And now he’s the go-to guy. When the team was scuffling mightily earlier this year, it was Pedroia calling everyone out and demanding better play. And all he did that night was snag a line drive, crawl to tag out a runner, and flip to first from his backside for a double play.

He spoke. Then he backed it up.

And then he came to Ortiz’s defense when everyone else in the locker room was treating the slump like the plague and avoiding any comment at all costs. Instead of shying away, Pedroia stood up, defended his teammate, and begged everyone to move on.

Two weeks later, with Ortiz delivering a laser show, indeed, it’s only fair to give credit to the new little big man in the Red Sox clubhouse.

Whether or not he can will this team back into the pennant race remains to be seen. That’s a tall order for anyone, let alone a 5’8″ second baseman. But he’s made it clear that if anyone is going to do it, it will be him.

He already delivered on one promise this season. Who is to say he can’t deliver on another?

Read more MLB news on