Will Middlebrooks loved his time with the Boston Red Sox, and the former infielder-turned-NESN analyst therefore wanted to share his experience with Trevor Story, a longtime friend who entered the Major League Baseball offseason as one of the best free agents available.
“I was selling it for days,” Middlebrooks told The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier, shedding light on his sales pitch to Story. “I laid it out. I said, ‘Look, New York smells like garbage and they have rats the size of Shetland ponies. You don’t want to go there. You don’t want to go to California. The taxes are absurd. You’ll lose all your money there. In Houston, they have hurricanes. The perfect place to go is Boston.’ “
Middlebrooks was joking around, per Speier, when he took aim at those other cities. And it’s hard to imagine Story based his eventual decision to sign with Boston on one former Red Sox player’s advice.
But Middlebrooks, who has known Story for more than a decade, still wanted to do his part, as someone who thoroughly enjoyed the “passion” shown by Red Sox fans throughout his own three-year run with Boston from 2012 to 2014.
“But I said, in all honesty, I told him I played in five places,” Middlebrooks said, according to Speier. “If you want the best experience in baseball as a player, you have to experience playing as a home player at Fenway Park in front of Red Sox Nation. There’s nothing better than playing against the Yankees on a Sunday night or playing in the postseason. You can’t beat it.”
Middlebrooks wasn’t alone in pitching Boston to Story, as shortstop Xander Bogaerts and manager Alex Cora also were among those who reached out to the former Colorado Rockies star.
Story acknowledged to WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford that Bogaerts’ recruiting effort was especially meaningful — the former will move to second base with the latter manning his usual position in 2022 — and it’s clear he’s excited to embrace all that comes with wearing a Red Sox uniform.