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Just because you're one of the best rookies, it certainly doesn't exempt you from making rookie mistakes. Ask Wil Myers.
The Tampa Bay outfielder, a heavy favorite to take home AL Rookie of the Year, made that rookie mistake in the bottom of the 4th on Friday afternoon in Fenway. A bad rookie mistake will cost a team a game. This one could cost them a chance at a World Series.
As feared early, Boston's bats came out cold. Rays starter Matt Moore didn't allow a hit through three innings. Whether you blame the Sox layoff, the Rays' momentum, it doesn't matter. Wil Myers some way, somehow, turned a routine fly ball into the dynamite that busted the Hoover Dam, and became the hero in Boston.
But why would he let such an easy fly ball drop for no apparent reason? The sun? Could be possible, but he had those fancy Oakleys on. Did Desmond Jennings in center field call him off? Doubtful, Jennings made no attempt to catch it. Did someone on the Red Sox bullpen yell something along the lines of "I got it!" in hopes of throwing Myers off? According to Pedro Martinez (via Keith Olbermann on TBS) that is very possible, although according to Tim Wakefield, who has spent plenty of time in that bullpen, it's very difficult for the outfielders to hear from the bullpen, especially with the crowd noise that loud.
Myers said after the play that nobody called him off. I honestly think he's telling the truth, which makes him look even worse, but at least he's owning up to it. My initial thought was that Myers just horribly misplayed the ball and thought it was a home run. At second, third, fourth glance, I still believe that. Either way, it wasn't. It was a ground-rule double that sparked a five-run inning en route to a 12-2 Game 1 stomping in favor of Boston. Thanks to Myers, whatever momentum Tampa had disappeared faster than a Sam Adams Summer Ale on a July afternoon.
But the Fenway Faithful are a forgiving group, a consoling group, an encouraging group. During the inning, chants of "My-ers, My-ers" boomed down from the crowd, showing support for the youngster. When Wil stepped to the plate, he even received a standing ovation, with chants switching to "We love Myers". Longoria doesn't get those chants, Loney doesn't get those chants. See Wil, you're special, Red Sox fans really appreciate you. Ask Mariano Rivera how he felt after the 2004 ALCS, he was the most beloved figure in Boston. You're in great company, keep up the good work, kid.