Teams that aren’t producing on the field are already behind the 8-Ball when it comes to winning over the cold hearts of fans. Boston is not an easy place to play, and it doesn’t help when you’re on a team destined for last place.
Bad teams can still have redeeming qualities through likable players. They are the ones who can make you watch the games even when there’s not much chance for success.
The 2020 Red Sox are looking ready to embrace defeat, but is this a team of lovable losers, or just…losers?
In the outfield, there are promising characters despite some quiet bats. After trading Mookie Betts, the ultimate guy to root for, it wasn’t looking good. The new faces at least make up for some of Betts’s character if not his talent.
Kevin Pillar is a team-first master of defense. He’s the kind hard-working, undervalued player we have grown to like over the years in Boston.
Alex Verdugo is intriguing. His style and swagger can rub some people the wrong way. He was already in a tough spot as the trade piece in the Betts deal. But look more closely and you’ll see a player with his wits about him who has great potential. You have to especially love his answer on replacing Mookie.
Despite his batting average, Jackie Bradley Jr. has always been a class act. The guy is as nice as they come and is very professional and cordial with the media.
J.D Martinez and Andrew Benintendi are probably the odd men out. Benintendi doesn’t have a standout personality to latch on to compared to the rest of the group. His play before the injury certainly wasn’t doing him any favors. Martinez seems to swing like a pendulum in public favor. Recently, it’s been in the negative direction with both his actions and his comments.
The infield is filled with likable characters like Devers, Bogaerts, and Moreland. These are players who don’t talk a lot, but they know how to get the job done from their key contributions to 2018 team. You can trust them even when they slump.
Some infielders are a little harder to place. Michael Chavis seems to be saying all the right things, although it’s a little tough to say he’s earned his “Ice Horse” nickname yet, even with a recent hitting streak. The jury is still out on Jonathan Arauz, Tzu-Wei Lin, and Jose Peraza. As of now, they are all trending in a positive direction.
Behind the dish, Christian Vazquez seems to have taken this season as breakout opportunity. He is quickly winning over the minds of any doubtful fans with his dual threat play that puts him among the very best in the league. Plus, how can you not love him after this comment?
To be completely honest, the pitching staff is pretty unlikable. It’s mostly because a lot of people don’t even know who they are until they get tagged for five runs an inning. Outliers like Eovaldi and Valdez are fine to root for, but for the rest, their improved play is the only thing that can save their likability.
So, are the 2020 Red Sox a likable team? Yes and no. Does their likability even matter? Probably not, but it’s nice to have players to root for when the team as a whole is less than desirable.
Photo: (Michael Dwyer – AP Photo)