BOSTON — Jake Peavy has only pitched at Fenway Park once in his 12-year major league career. Sometimes, that’s all it takes.
Peavy on Thursday spoke with the media for the first time since becoming a member of the Red Sox, and he sounded like someone who had already fallen in love with the culture. He was well-spoken and jovial, and he made it clear that he’s looking forward to the opportunity to pitch in Boston.
“I can’t tell you how excited I am to be here today,” Peavy said. “Obviously, with the tradition of the Boston Red Sox, coming in as a visiting player playing at Fenway Park and always relishing the opportunity to play at such a historic ballpark and in front of a great fan base, albeit not yours. It was always a fun place to play on the road. And then as a visiting player, respecting the other side, from the front office, to the players, to the coaching staff throughout the years and what they were able to accomplish in my time here in the big leagues, so I couldn’t be any more excited to be here, to be a part, to call this home, to join such a franchise with a lot of history and huge expectations.”
Peavy’s lone appearance at Fenway Park came back on May 30, 2011, and he pitched seven innings while guiding the White Sox to a 7-3 victory. Now, the right-hander will call Fenway his home as he changes the color of his Sox and joins the ballclub stationed in Boston. It’ll be a stark contrast from pitching for a last-place team — like he had been this season in Chicago.
“Yeah, it will be fun,” Peavy said of pitching in Boston. “You know the crowd, the atmosphere, the energy always surrounding this ballpark, it was always fun here to come and play. I’ve pitched here one time to my recollection. But I can’t tell you how much that brings and adds to a player to a ballclub.”
Playing in Boston has proven to be problematic for some players in the past, as the high expectations and the added pressure tend to weigh on players who aren’t up to the mental challenge. Peavy is considered an emotional pitcher, but the 32-year-old seems to understand that there’s a fine line between playing off the Fenway crowd’s energy and getting distracted by it, and he doesn’t foresee those added demands becoming an issue when he finally steps onto the rubber for the first time as a member of the Red Sox on Saturday.
“As emotional as you guys think I am, there will be so much going on between ear zone, that 15 seconds that you get the ball back — what happened on that pitch and what will be the next pitch situation in the game, the score, the inning, what has this guy done on his last at bat, all that stuff will be going on on Saturday,” Peavy said. “And you guys will see me out there screaming and yelling at times and kind of lose that that’s going on, but I will relish the opportunity every time I get to go out and pitch in front of this crowd, and now, it will be my home crowd.”
It didn’t take long for Peavy to grow fond of Boston. It’s now up to him to make sure that the feeling becomes mutual, if it hasn’t already.