When it comes to mystique in sports, you don’t get much mystique-ier than Boston.
The Bruins, Celtics and Red Sox all have long, storied histories, and the Patriots are in the midst of the most powerful dynasty that the NFL has ever witnessed.
So when the Red Sox came calling on Shane Victorino, he was all ears.
“There is no convincing, it’s Boston.” Victorino said at his introductory news conference Thursday. “That in itself says it all. It’s the Red Sox. It’s a storied franchise.”
Victorino, a free agent from the Dodgers via a trade with the Philadelphia Phillies last season, signed a three-year deal worth $39 million to play for the Red Sox.
“There was no selling. I look at the guys and the chemistry on this team. … I look at the makeup of the team, the guys, so this is one of those teams you can turn around and that’s the goal. We don’t want to be known as the team that didn’t make the playoffs. I want to be that team that makes the playoffs”
A natural center fielder, Victorino welcomes the challenge of playing right field for the Red Sox.
“I love center field, I want to be a center fielder, but I’ve played right and I’m excited about the opportunity. I’m going to go out there and have fun. I’ll still wrap myself around that pole, but hey, if I’ve gotta go get the ball, I’m going to go get it.”
Known for being very active and very talkative, it is something that Red Sox General Manager Ben Cherington appreciates in Victorino.
“Shane is someone who we think fits perfectly into our short- and longer-term plan,” Cherington said. He’s one of the highest-energy players in the game, so we’re thrilled to add him to our team and to our clubhouse and we welcome Shane.”
“I’m going to be fun.” Victorino echoed, “I’m going to be loud. I’m going to talk a lot. You’re going to get what you get,” he explained. “It’s going to be me. I’m going to go out there and play 100 percent.”
Once you are part of the sports scene in Boston, you feel a responsibility to uphold the traditions and Victorino realizes it. “… if you look around the game of baseball there’s one rivalry you speak of, it’s the Yankees and Red Sox.”
The opportunity to be part of that rivalry is enticing and part of what lures players to Fenway, but he also realizes there is much more to the game and the Red Sox than on individual rivalry. “When you’re winning, everybody’s happy. You guys are happy. I’m happy. We’re all happy we’re winning,” Victorino said. “These guys have won. They’ve been there and they’ve been to big games. I’m just trying to fit in. I’m going to be myself and bring that energy, that excitement and have fun.”
When Victorino walked into the press conference, he was wearing jeans, sneakers and a hoodie – and for a man who is well aware of Boston’s rich and ongoing sports tradition, one could take the choice of apparel as a telling sign of a winner’s attitude…
…Or he could have just been chilly. Boston is also know for that this time of year.
We’ll find out just which one it is for sure in just a few short months.