Nathan Eovaldi already seems to be having more fun playing baseball this season compared to last.
It’s easy to see why.
A lot went wrong for the Boston Red Sox last year in their pandemic-shortened 2020 campaign. And the COVID-19 pandemic and the protocols put in place to keep players safe arguably assisted that adversity.
Not to mention, when things were going poorly, the teammates couldn’t even hang out together in the clubhouse during down time to try and work through on-field issues by building better chemistry.
Things are different this season, though. Players are back sharing a locker room after a year of using different luxury boxes at Fenway Park as their own individual dressing rooms.
Eovaldi says it’s already showing.
“We definitely have a really good vibe going on in the club house,” the Opening Day starting pitcher said Wednesday.
“A lot of the guys we added in, it feels like they’ve been a part of the team a long time already. I think it’s important to have that good team chemistry in the clubhouse. Last year, with everything happening with COVID, and then with us being up in our suites and away from each other, I felt like we kind of missed out on that a little bit. We were able to make those changes later in the season but by then it was too late at that point. But coming in now we have A.C. (Alex Cora) back and if feels like we’re back together as a team again. It feels like it’s been a long time. We’ve stayed in contact but now we’re able to play the game again with each other and interact in the club house at a safe distance, of course, and go about it the right way. So it feels like baseball again. It’s fun.”
Hopefully that translates Thursday as the Red Sox open their season against the Baltimore Orioles at 2:10 p.m. ET.