BOSTON (AP) – It was in the midst of the pandemic, the Boston Red Sox were smelly, and with the major league stadiums empty in 2020, they couldn’t even rely on the crowds to get them started. During a particularly mundane road game at Tropicana Field for the Rays, coach Jason Varitek suggested they need to put some fun back into the game.
The Red Sox got an ‘extra fire’ from Rays by ordering champagne at Fenway Park
The words had barely left his lips when Christian Vázquez hit a home run. So backup catcher Kevin Plawecki grabbed a nearby laundry cart, waited for Vázquez to come back to the canoe and said, “Hey, get on.”
“We hadn’t talked about it – nothing,” Plalawecki said Wednesday. “He sat straight down and I pushed him. And since that’s our thing, I guess.
The 2004 Red Sox were “the idiots”. In ’13, they grew bushy beards. And if the 2021 team behaves like its predecessors and wins the World Series, the lingering image could be “Tunnel Time” – the home laundry cart crosses the dugout.
Started with a lark in a last-place season, the Red Sox continued the celebration this year and climbed it up to a spot in the AL Championship Series, which begins Friday night in Houston.
“It was great in a difficult season for them to be able to find something fun and to be able to celebrate something in the game,” said manager Alex Cora. “It means a lot to them. That they have fun with it, it’s great.
Sports teams have long found unique ways to celebrate their victories and other milestones, from the now-routine bathing after the Gatorade victory to jackets or award-winning jewelry for big games.
Even in baseball, where traditionalists scoff at anything that might seem disrespectful or outrageous, teams weren’t afraid to show some personality.
The Phillies have a straw Home Run Hat, the Rockies have home shades and the Blue Jays have a blue blazer for their “HR Club” members. The New York Mets ride a plush pony through the canoe to celebrate the circuits; the San Diego Padres are circulating a seven-pound necklace of jewelry dubbed the “Swagg Chain.”
During their race to the 2019 World Series, Washington Nationals car enthusiasts Adam Eaton and Howie Kendrick celebrated by pretending to drive in the dugout – stepping on an imaginary clutch, changing false gears and doing loud engine noises with their mouths.
“Everyone has their own way of having fun. That’s what it is, ”Plawecki said in an interview on the field during batting practice at Fenway Park. “It’s not an ‘in your face’ for anyone. It’s just a way for us to have fun, to keep it light.
The Boston Cart is now a new custom model that may never have been touched by actual laundry; he even had his own bobble head day (although the Red Sox will tell you the giveaway honored JD Martinez, who was in it).
During the playoffs, infielder José Iglesias assumed responsibility for the “carrito” and declared himself the official driver. Acquired too late in the season to be eligible for the playoff roster, Iglesias said he was happy to contribute in the dugout, since he cannot be on the field.
“It’s a great way for him to stay involved with the guys,” Plawecki said. “I know it kills him not to be with us. He is such a help to all of us.
Plawecki said he has no regrets about stepping down as a cart driver. After all, given how the Red Sox has evolved, he needs to conserve his energy: Boston hit two home runs in an AL win over the Yankees and nine more in the Division Series’ four-game win. vs. Tampa Bay – a playoff franchise record five in Game 2 alone.
“They kept me very, very busy,” Iglesias said. “And I hope I get busier in the playoffs.”
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