NEW YORK — One by one, the Boston Red Sox filtered into the visitors’ clubhouse at Yankee Stadium on Saturday morning, mere hours after wrapping up a 19-inning win over the Yankees.
There were yawns. There were coffees. And there were bags under eyes.
But there also was a sense of camaraderie despite the team being less than a week into its 2015 slate.
“I thought we stayed energetic throughout (Friday’s game), even though when you look up some guys had 10 plate appearances. Obviously, it’s a rarity,” Red Sox manager John Farrell, working on about three hours sleep, said before Saturday afternoon’s contest. “But you walk through the cafeteria this morning, and there’s 25 guys having breakfast, all at the same time.
“It was almost like a football schedule rather than a baseball one. So we’ll see what effects it might have going forward.”
Hard-fought victories often galvanize teams, so for as much of a hassle as Friday night’s marathon game was for anyone who cherishes shut-eye, the Red Sox likely came away from the contest a tighter group.
That’s not to say the team hadn’t already developed a good rapport. The Red Sox’s chemistry was on display throughout spring training, with random fishing trips and impromptu obstacle course relay races supplementing occasional clubhouse football tosses and spirited card games.
But the squad that showed up to Yankee Stadium on Saturday morning roughly eight hours after the series opener’s final out — or even earlier in Dustin Pedroia’s case — seemed to have a distinct cohesion to it in spite of the grueling turnaround.
Shane Victorino’s loud remarks across the room, Pablo Sandoval’s jolly chuckle stemming from a chat with David Ortiz and Clay Buchholz’s humor regarding a letter he received from Major League Baseball about a batter’s box violation all stood as prime examples that the Red Sox were in good spirits.
They were tired, sure. But they were tired together, still laughing and conversing as if Edward Mujica didn’t surrender a ninth-inning homer Friday and the game didn’t take nearly seven hours to complete.
Chemistry, happiness and all that Kumbaya-type stuff can only go so far, obviously. The Red Sox’s potent offense, deep bench and (so far) effective starting rotation are far more important in Boston’s quest for success this season.
But solidarity, while unquantifiable, can help over the course of a 162-game grind. And this Red Sox team seems to have that.
Even in its groggiest moments.
Thumbnail photo via Anthony Gruppuso/USA TODAY Sports Images