The 2022 Boston Red Sox had plenty of issues. Apparently one of them involved Triston Casas trying to catch some rays.
The Red Sox' young first baseman has developed a few quirky pregame rituals, from sunbathing shirtless in the outfield to taking naps at his locker in the clubhouse before first pitch. Casas said he developed those habits in 2019 while in Boston's minor-league system and didn't run into any problems.
But when he got to the majors last season and tried his sunbathing routine before his Red Sox debut in September, he received a very different reaction.
"Are you (expletive) kidding me?" one veteran pitcher remarked when he saw Casas sunbathing, according to Mass Live's Chris Cotillo.
That pitcher wasn't alone: Multiple Red Sox veterans "took issue" with Casas' unique pregame routine, with the 23-year-old admitting there were "clashes" over how he should conduct himself before games.
Casas put a positive spin on those interactions, insisting they were better than his teammates not saying anything if his pregame routine upset them.
"I would have been more concerned if they weren’t saying anything to me," Casas said. "I felt like that would have meant they didn’t feel like I was going to be (in the majors long). I think the fact they were telling me stuff, the fact they were getting on me for the little things meant that they wanted me to go about things the right way."
Then again, every baseball player has their own routine, and as long as Casas wasn't skipping any team meetings or workout sessions, why should his teammates care what he does before games if it works for him?
Casas said he won't completely alter his routine in 2023, but did admit he'll make a few changes to draw less attention to himself before games.
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"I couldn’t just scratch everything and then try to build a new routine," Casas said. "So there were times where I had to compromise with my teammates and meet in the middle and see how I can incorporate things that I needed to do and things that they thought were disrespectful. '
"I had a certain way of doing things. And I found out when I came here some of the things that I was doing just needed an adjustment in terms of the timing or the location."
The Red Sox finished in the American League East basement last season at 78-84, so they had bigger fish to fry than worrying about why Casas was sunbathing before games. They've also lost several clubhouse leaders over the past calendar year -- Xander Bogaerts, Christian Vazquez and J.D. Martinez, to name a few -- so it's worth wondering whether they have the right clubhouse leadership in place to avoid such trivial issues becoming larger ones.
Casas is Boston's projected Opening Day first baseman as of now, so here's hoping he and his teammates have gotten on the same page about his sunbathing habits entering the 2023 season.