He hit .336 the rest of the season.
Pedroia still checks in occasionally with Murphy. "Whattaya got? Whattaya got?" Pedroia will ask, looking for words of wisdom.
"Dustin, why are you calling me?" Murphy will say. "You know what's going to happen. You know you're going to be in the Hall of Fame."
Pedroia will text back after one of their sessions, Thanks, Coach. You know I'm going to hit .300, right?
"I've always said, If you're a career .300 hitter and on the last day of the year you're hitting .270, you're going to play a 30-inning game and find a way to get up to .300," Pedroia says. "You have to think that way."
"How much he believes in himself is vital to who he is," Epstein said. "He talks more s--- than anybody in the league, and no one takes it the wrong way."
Says Francona, "I have never met anybody like him. Not Pete Rose, not anybody. That kid is everything about baseball wrapped up in that little f------ body."
Francona and Pedroia have such a close relationship that they resemble a traveling comedy team. They play cribbage every day—they get hundreds of cribbage boards, many of them handcrafted, from fans—and during games they exchange high-decibel insults. "A screamfest," Francona says.
"I like beating his ass," Pedroia says.
Last month Pedroia received a bottle of expensive vodka from a bar owner who wanted a signed jersey. "Hey, Tito!" Pedroia shouted across the clubhouse. "I got something for you. Drink this before the game. We're trying to win tonight and this might help you manage!"