Thirteen home runs and thirteen cart rides. The Red Sox are making history this season. But what is the cart ride all about?
Fun, esprit de corps
The cart ritual is just a little lighthearted activity the Boston-based baseball team adopted for team spirit and to delight fans. The history goes back to the end of last year. With a disappointing 24-36 season, they were badly in need of good cheer.
It all started at the Tropicana Field on 13th September. As catching instructor Jason Varitek noticed a laundry cart in the dugout, he wondered why it was there.
Backup second baseman Kevin Plawecki -- together with Varitek -- decided that a player would go on a carriage ride after scoring a run.
A couple of batters later, Christian Vázquez drove a home run into the fence. And from that point forward, a reiteration of this ritual has brought many a smile.
After hitting three home runs in a row Sunday, Red Sox hitter, J.D. Martinez took three cart rides.
Everything is just for fun, Martinez responded. "We do silly things to rally everyone together."
They make do
The Red Sox don't bring a laundry cart, relying instead on what is available at the host clubhouse when they arrive. Recently in Baltimore, that meant that someone as 6 foot three, 230 pounds as Martinez had to get piled into a cart whose dimensions lacked precision.
"Last year, we were looking for a way to have some fun when the circumstances weren't the best, and we took that idea into this season," says centerfielder Christian Arroyo.
"We're having a lot of fun. When you hit home runs, you're not thinking about the laundry cart when you're running around the bases, you're just thinking about your swing, and then you see that cart...it's just so much more intense."
Arroyo is not known for much power; however, he broke out in the sixth inning of the game last year against the Rays, hitting his second home run of the season.
"Hopefully, this series and the remaining part of the season will feature a lot more of that. We're going to roll with it. We enjoy it."
Alex Verdugo's smile after he hit his fourth home run Sunday -- his first long ball this season -- was priceless. Rafael Devers hit two home runs Sunday, which earned him a couple of cart rides too.
Despite not being with the team one year ago, Red Sox manager Alex Cora was able to see the excitement of the fans from the laundry cart as he watched the games. He encouraged the players to continue with it this year.