New and Improved!

(Photo from Men’s Vogue)

Jacoby Ellsbury, that is. Yeah, remember the fleet-footed pre-rookie that Boston fell head-over-heels in love with during the stretch run last season? The inspiring upstart who made veteran Coco Crisp trade fodder? The Natural who runs so fast he kicks up Road Runner cartoon dust clouds in his wake? Get this, apparently he’s going to be even BETTER this year.

No-longer-wee Jacoby has reported to spring training looking like, well, check out the picture above. Homeboy is going to need a bigger jersey. Apparently in addition to weight and agility drills, he’s also been training as a mechanic. Which should come in handy when one of Manny’s vintage cars inevitably breaks down in the middle of Kenmore Square. Jacoby says he’s willing to accept “any role the team has for him.” I wonder if he knows what he’s opening himself up to there. I envision him as the Troy Brown of the Red Sox, only, you know, younger. Fetching Vitamin Water for Papi, playing Connect Four with Tek, shooing the flies off Julian Tavarez’s stash of freshly-killed meat. You know, whatever. And, of course, stealing a base or fifty.

In the most recent issue of Men’s Vogue, Jacoby talks about his off-season workout plan, the fact that his girlfriend isn’t so amused by the legions of women clamoring for his attention (a thicker skin might be needed there), and the fact that his go-to karaoke song is “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling,” which, Amy and I hasten to point out, we totally knew because if there is one thing you can tell about that boy from looking at him, it’s that he LOVES Top Gun. In fact, he’s been called “Maverick” on more than one occasion. And I would lay money on the fact that once or twice, after a few too many, he’s drunkenly assessed that he feels “The need. The need for speed!” Just another item in the long list of “Things We Knew Before We Knew Them.”

No place falls quite so hopelessly in love with players as we do in Boston (with the possible exception of Green Bay) and it’s part of what makes us, despite all our bellyaching (though really, that is completely unwarranted of late) such hopeless romantics at heart. Cynics, sure, but cynical romantics if such a thing exists.

You guys? Real, honest to goodness baseball starts on Friday. Jacoby and all the rest of ’em.

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