How Ohio State-Michigan Rivalry Motivated Travis Shaw Before Big Night Vs. A’s

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Travis Shaw is a huge Ohio State fan. He sports a Buckeyes sticker on the knob of his bat and has four more adorning his locker in the Boston Red Sox clubhouse.

Inside his helmet, however, resides a sticker bearing the mark of Ohio State’s most hated rival, the Michigan Wolverines. Why? Here’s the story:

As Shaw explained to WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford, it started as a prank by Red Sox third base coach Brian Butterfield, a diehard Michigan supporter.

?(Monday) night after the game, Butter came up to my locker with a big smirk on his face,? the third baseman said after Tuesday’s night’s win over the Oakland A’s, per Bradford. ?I had no clue what he was smirking about. He said, ?Did you look in your helmet?? I said, ?What do you mean?? He said there was a Wolverine sticker in there.”

Shaw went 3-for-5 with two doubles and three runs scored Monday in a 14-7 shellacking of the A’s, then proceeded to fall a triple shy of the cycle and drive in five runs the following night in an equally lopsided 13-5 victory.

He also solved his issues with left-handed pitching Tuesday night, doubling off Oakland starter Sean Manaea and launching a three-run homer off reliever Daniel Coulombe to double his season total of hits against southpaws.

And since baseball players are notoriously superstitious, that two-game power surge meant the Wolverines sticker wasn’t going anywhere.

“I got three hits (Monday) night, so we?ll leave it in there,” Shaw told Bradford. “Maybe it pisses me off enough to go out there and get hits.?

Shaw hasn’t needed Butterfield’s motivation to put up numbers, however. He entered Wednesday night batting .322 with four home runs, 23 RBIs and a .928 OPS in his first season as a full-time major leaguer.

Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images

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