Raimel Tapia learned to endear Red Sox fans last season even though he played for a division rival.
Tapia’s lone season with the Toronto Blue Jays included nine trips to Boston, where the veteran outfielder was able to experience a heavy dose of the Fenway Faithful. One of those road games against the Red Sox saw the visiting Jays pile up a franchise-record 28 runs, four of which were delivered by Tapia’s inside-the-park grand slam.
The 29-year-old wound up staying in the American League East through free agency, joining Boston on a minor-league deal back last month. Speaking with the media at spring training in Fort Myers, Fla., Tapia recalled the Toronto onslaught and explained how he came to admire the Red Sox fanbase on that late-July note.
“Even last year when we were playing this team and we put up those 28 runs, you could see the chemistry they had,” Tapia told reporters through a translator, per MassLive. “You could see, at Fenway, the fans were all in the stands. Most places, if you’re losing by a lot, fans just leave. Here, you could see they stayed. They’re passionate about the sport. It looked like a good place to come and play.”
There’s no guarantee Tapia plays for the Red Sox at Fenway Park this season, as he first will need to earn a roster spot with the major league club. But if he does make his Boston debut in 2023, the home fans surely will give him a warm welcome.