Bellhorn: Cult hero
Whether it's the flurry of blog entries devoted to him of late, or SoSH spoogefests, or T-Shirts or message boards, Red Sox Nation has officially fallen in love with a humble second baseman named Mark Bellhorn.
At first, I think it started as a joke. A, "let's cheer for what we regard as the least flashy player on the team, in a sarcastic kind of way" phenomenon. Then I think it developed into real affection, as more and more of us were amused and endeared by his stoicism and subtle, unintentional humorousness. When he was injured recently, I think a seed of respect was planted, especially when he came back so quickly (the speculation that he's an android was also furthered by this).
But as they say, absence makes the heart grow fonder. His return to the lineup has been a clearer demonstration than any statistic of the value he brings to the team. Today, for example, Bellhorn made his post-injury debut by drawing a four-pitch walk from pitcherJosh Stewart, the first Red Sox batter not to take a strike, and the only walk Stewart gave up for his entire start; Kevin Youkilis is widely known as "The Greek God of Walks" (a misnomer in several ways, given that Youkilis is a Jew of Russian descent and has emerged as more of a slugger, though he is patient at the plate), but the title, we're beginning to realize, belongs to Bellhorn.
We're beginning to say things, as Joe from Bigger than Life or Death does, like "Mark Christian Bellhorn has one of the smartest approaches to hitting in the game of baseball."
It's an example of how Red Sox fandom is so thoroughly into the game that we our eyes pry to every corner in the clubhouse, even to where a quiet introvert may be hiding. It proves that it doesn't matter what the ESPN.com scouts say about you, and it doesn't matter if you're Barry Bonds; if you do your utmost with whatever talent you have been given, we will love you.
Mark Bellhorn, we love you.