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Home » April 2009 Game CommentsApril 2009 » Everyman


Game 21: April 29, 2009 ∙ 10 innings
WinRed Sox6
W: Hideki Okajima (2-0)
S: Jonathan Papelbon (6)
14-7, 1 game winning streak
H: Rafael Perez (2)
H: Rafael Betancourt (3)
BS, L: Jensen Lewis (3, 2-3)
8-14, 1 game losing streak
Highlights: Everyman. Variant form: everyman. Noun: An ordinary person, representative of the human race.

The clock is ticking for Jonathan Van Every. He was drafted in the 29th round of the 2000 amateur draft by the Indians. As the 876th overall pick, it was unlikely Van Every would have made it into a major league stadium as anything other than a spectator. He kicked around the Cleveland system for seven years, the most precious years of his baseball career piling up like the grains of sand in an hourglass.

If you haven’t made the bigs by the time the team that drafted you no longer holds your rights, it’s usually time to polish the resume and see if the interview suit fits. This is where Van Every found himself at the end of the 2007 season. But instead of packing away his baseball gear, he signed with the Red Sox as a minor league free agent on December 1.

He had a solid year in 2008 with Pawtucket: .263 batting average, .360 on-base, .524 slugging, with 26 homers. As a 28-year old at that level, however, the numbers were not eye-popping.

For six years the Indians never called up Van Every. In the eighth inning, he found himself in the box against his former team with the bases loaded, two outs remaining, and trailing by three runs. The worst possible outcome: an inning-ending double play, would justify all those years the Indians ignored him. The best result: a lead-taking grand slam.

Van Every was everyman in that eighth inning; he did just enough to keep it interesting but not so much as to be awe-inspiring. His RBI single to right kept the inning going. His team clawed its way back to tie the game that inning.

Not only did Van Every spark the visitors’ rally but he also preserved the lead with a running grab of Grady Sizemore’s fly ball. Had the ball dropped and gotten by the Red Sox right fielder all three of the men on base could have scored.

Sometimes in those parables about the common man the protagonist rises above his workaday tedium. Van Every did just that in the top of the tenth. Jensen Lewis notched two quick outs and the home team was poised to take over in the bottom of the inning with the score knotted at five runs apiece.

Van Every launched a home run into straightaway center field. His run would be the winning run. Instead of flipping his bat, he flipped over the hourglass.

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