It’s no secret Chris Sale has been the number one topic of discussion in the Red Sox offseason, aside from everyone making a case why David Ortiz should or will come back -- it’s not happening by the way.
Now Sale’s pitched in Boston before -- sporting a 3.63 ERA with 23 punch-outs through 22 1/3 innings -- so he has an idea of what he’s in for.
“Last year was nothing that I didn’t expect,” Price said when asked if he’d warned Sale about what he was getting into. “I’ve probably spent more time in Boston than he has in his career, being that I was in Tampa for so long and in the same division. But you see it from the other side you see the passion.
“You get to know what it’s about. (As a visitor) when (the Red Sox) are going good, you’re like, ‘We need to get out of here, this is not a place that is gonna easy to win in right now.’”
And Sale’s learned quickly how Red Sox fans are fairly invested.
“They have a lot of fans,” Sale said with big laugh. “It’s great, it’s a passion. You can feel it . . . You can’t help but to feed off that and have certain energy going into the season with all that.”
As much as Sale has experience at Fenway Park and learned about the fans coming in, nothing could prepare him for the welcome he received when festivities were kicked off at Red Sox Winter Weekend.
“[I was] kind of blown away,” Sale said when asked for his initial reaction to the ovation he received. “This is my first time being able to interact with new fans and this fan base. For that to be my first impression is incredible. It’s a moment I’ll remember for the rest of my life.
“Hopefully I’ll hear that a few more times.”
All that being said, Sale’s enjoying the moment, but won’t allow himself to be consumed by it. He’s not worried about pleasing the fans or breaking the trend of great pitchers struggling their first year in Boston.
He’s just looking to get hitters out.
“I mean it’s the same game,” Sale said. “No matter what uniform you’re wearing, what ballpark you’re pitching in, it’s still strike one, strike two and strike three. I just try to keep the same mindset.
“I think a lot of things involved make me feel a little bit more comfortable. Spring Training being in Southwest Florida, being able to spend some more time at my house, I’ve lived there for ten years. Plus Boston’s been a city I’ve loved to travel to; it’s a city my wife comes to during the year when I was in Chicago. We love it here, so that’ll help, as well.”
Sounds a little different from what Boston has heard from past newcomers.