Chris Sale’s ‘Funny’ Text Exchange Reveals Red Sox Star’s 2023 Mindset

'I want to start having fun again'


Mar 10, 2023

The last three years have been a nightmare for Boston Red Sox pitcher Chris Sale, who’s been limited to 11 regular-season starts (48 1/3 innings) since the beginning of 2020 due to various injuries.

So, why has Sale been in such good spirits during Red Sox spring training?

Well, he’s finally healthy, with no restrictions, and he’s not taking anything for granted while preparing for the 2023 Major League Baseball campaign. In some ways, dealing with so much adversity has given him a new perspective on and a greater appreciation for his professional career.

“I just know it’s not going to last forever. As of right now, I’ve got this year and next year. And that’s all I’m really guaranteed,” Sale recently told WEEI’s Rob Bradford on the “Baseball Isn’t Boring” podcast. “So, I want to have fun. But I felt like before you kind of have this trailer hitched to you, pulling weight from all the things … In a weird way, how much worse can it be? How much worse can it be?

“I have completely (expletive) the last three years of my highest-paid contract years. I have nothing to lose. Everyone that hates me is going to just hate me, you know what I mean? It just is what it is.”

Sale signed a five-year, $145 million contract extension with Boston in March 2019, mere months after the Red Sox defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 2018 World Series. It’s been a grind for the left-hander ever since, with Tommy John surgery, a rib stress fracture, a fractured finger and a broken wrist among his many setbacks.

Sale, once one of the most dominant pitchers in baseball, now is a question mark. And he’s not running from that reality as he enters his age-35 season. If anything, as someone who’s often his own toughest critic, he’s embracing the skepticism as fuel.

“My dad even said this morning, he sent me a funny text,” Sale told Bradford. “And I said, ‘At this point, I’d rather them still hate me.’ Don’t switch sides now. If you were talking (crap), hating me a couple of months ago, stay on it. Stay on it. And be consistent. But I don’t know, perspective is a big portion of that. And again, it’s not going to last forever. I can be miserable the next couple of years and just get through it, or I can have fun and try to dominate. And if it works out, it works out. And if not, what do you do?”

Sale is under contract with the Red sox through next season. He then has an option for 2025 that’ll vest if he finishes in the top-10 in 2024 American League Cy Young voting and doesn’t finish the year on the injured list.

“I want to start having fun again,” Sale said. “This game was a lot of fun for me for a while. It might not have looked like it all the time, but I enjoyed myself and I love competing. And I had a couple of different roads I could’ve gone down, and I had too many people in my life just pushing me towards where I’m at now.”

“I’m having more fun at this spring training than probably any other spring training,” he added. ” … I just feel like I’ve got a new life. ‘Game over’ was on the screen. I’ve got five more Mario lives. And I’m not going to waste a single one of them.”

Sale, a seven-time All-Star, has had more lows than highs in recent years. But it’s time to turn the page, knowing the past doesn’t have to dictate the present or the future.

Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images
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