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Jacoby Ellsbury

March 10, 2008
March 10, 2008

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March 10, 2008

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Jacoby Ellsbury

RED SOX CENTERFIELDER

As told to Austin Murphy

On being astarting centerfielder in the World Series, just 16 weeks after his big leaguedebut, and batting .438

This is an article from the March 10, 2008 issue

There waspressure, but I figured this is uncharted territory for a lot of guys. Even ifyou're a five-time All-Star, if you've never been to the postseason, it's new.I told myself there was no reason to back down. I didn't want it to be over andthink, Oh, man, I could've gone harder.

On the post-Seriesparade held in his honor in his hometown, Madras, Ore.

The coolest thingwas that it seemed like I knew everybody by first name, my old teachers, myformer teammates, my old classmates. Only 5,000 people live in our town, and atleast that many were at the parade. A lot of people talked about seeing me onTV running in to celebrate after the last out. They were saying, "Youshould have seen your face. It was priceless."

On Boston's CocoCrisp, whom he replaced in center during the ALCS

We talk, we joke,but the centerfield job hasn't come up. We know what's going on. He's beengreat. The day I got called up, Coco took me out to centerfield at Fenway andstarted telling me, "O.K., if the ball hits [the wall] here, this is whatit will do and where you need to be." He spent an hour with me.

On the off-seasonregimen that helped him gain 15 pounds and improve his considerable speed

I do somethingcalled SPARQ. It stands for speed, power, agility, reaction and quickness, andit's about focusing on muscle groups that relate to what I do on the field. Onething I do is swing a [612-pound] medicine ball like a bat—it generatesexplosiveness through your hips, abs, legs, upper body. I've never felt moreprepared for a season. I've never been this powerful, this explosive.

The big leagues' first Navajo is a World Series hero.Will he become a fixture in Boston?
PHOTOPHOTOGRAPH BY RICH FRISHMAN