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Pedroia uses wisdom of Ivan Drago to handle his fear of flying

Big League Stew

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Boston mighty mite Dustin Pedroia(notes) comes off as an "I ain't scared of nothin' " kind of guy, but that really isn't the case.

If you watched Baseball Tonight on Monday night like Red Sox Monster did, you would have enjoyed this exchange between Pedroia and ESPN's Steve Berthiaume about a notable phobia that the Red Sox second baseman holds:

Pedroia: "I hate flying. That's my biggest thing. ... (But) Alex Cora(notes), who is one of my best friends and was [a teammate] a couple of years ago, he used a line from 'Rocky' on [the plane] and I still kind of live by it. I looked at him one time and I was scared to death. And he goes, 'Hey man: If we die, we die.' And I'm like, 'That's a good point.' "

Berthiaume: "That's 'Rocky IV,' right? 'I must break you.' "

Pedroia: "Yeah. Yes, straight from 'Rocky IV.' And when he said that to me, I said, 'Yeah, you're kind of right.' So, I've been a little bit better since then, but I stick to that on the plane.' "

Paranoia will destroy ya', Pedroia!

However, as someone who navigates life using the morality imparted by the first "Star Wars" trilogy, I can relate to Pedroia resorting to pop culture wisdom to comfort him in a time of worry.

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I've just never quite understood why Ivan Drago — the Soviet boxer actor Dolph Lundgren played — was such a popular character.

No matter how glib his lines — "If he dies, he dies"; "I must break you"; "He's not human, he is like piece of iron"; "I win for me! For me!" — anybody who kills Apollo Creed in the ring is no sage of mine.

But hey, whatever gets Pedroia through a flight. A lot of people are afraid to fly, but the problem becomes even greater when significant air travel is required for your job — as in baseball. If we can't have flying cars, maybe we can get the Obama Bullet Train for Pedroia's sake.

And might I suggest he paraphrase another fictional character — someone who only killed Greedo — to get through the Red Sox's next charter?

"Traveling through the air ain't like dustin' crops, boy," he should say to himself.

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