Shane Victorino loves big market baseball.
Victorino, who spent seven-plus seasons in Philadelphia, grew accustomed to playing in front of passionate fans long before arriving in Boston. The Flyin? Hawaiian, now entering his second season with the Red Sox, can?t help but be motivated by the intensity.
?I love it. There?s no better reason to show up to the ballpark every day and fight for your fans,? Victorino told NESN?s Tom Caron on Red Sox Now on Wednesday. ?I go out there and I give 100 percent. It doesn?t matter what uniform I put on. Obviously, I love the game of baseball, more importantly, and that?s why I go out there and do what I do.?
It didn?t take long for Victorino to become a fan favorite in Boston, as the veteran outfielder played with a tremendous amount of grit and fearlessness in 2013. Victorino capped his memorable first season with the Red Sox by producing on Major League Baseball?s biggest stage.
Victorino?s grand slam in Game 6 of the American League Championship Series versus the Detroit Tigers forever will be considered one of the most iconic images in Red Sox history. His performance in Game 6 of the World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals was nothing to sneeze at, either, although Victorino knew well before the Red Sox embarked on their postseason run that the organization ? and the city ? was capable of something special.
?To be in a place like Boston — and I hate to always bring up this ? but going back to [the] April 15 [Boston Marathon bombings], on that day, I think that united us as a team, united us as a city and nation,? Victorino said Wednesday. ?Going out there every single night and playing for the city, the fans, that?s what drives me each and every day — to get the opportunity to play the game I love.
?I love playing in Boston,? Victorino continued. ?I call it my new home. And getting the opportunity to show up to the ballpark and play in the cathedral of baseball [Fenway Park] every single day, it doesn?t get any better than that.?
Victorino, who was honored for his work on and off the field in his native Hawaii on Tuesday, said Wednesday that he hopes to become even more active in the Boston community in 2014. Such endeavors might not get the recognition of a clutch grand slam or a bases-clearing double in the Fall Classic, but they further show a passionate individual?s devotion to a baseball-starved fan base.