Houston Astros third baseman Alex Bregman should have taken notice of how the Boston Red Sox responded to a perceived slight by their opponent, the New York Yankees, in the AL Divisional Series.
Yankees slugger Aaron Judge blasted the team’s victory song, “New York, New York,” in the bowels of Fenway Park after the Yankees’ Game 2 win. The Red Sox did not appreciate this and went on to win two straight in New York to close out the Yankees.
Enter Bregman, who on Monday posted a video on Instagram showing Houston teammate George Springer, himself and Jose Altuve hitting back-to-back-to-back home runs off Boston’s Game 3 starter, Nathan Eovaldi, while Eovaldi was with the Tampa Bay Rays.
Alex Bregman's Instagram story is video of the Astros hitting home runs off of Red Sox Game 3 starter Nathan Eovaldi, because the last time an opposing team trolled the Red Sox it worked out so well. pic.twitter.com/4QxwaoxSSE
— Jared Carrabis (@Jared_Carrabis) October 15, 2018
The caption said, “lil pregame video work.” It has since been taken down, but there’s another post up that shows Bregman crossing home plate with his arms raised. The caption reads: “Foreshadowing.”
The Red Sox mostly shrugged it off, at least publicly. But first baseman Steve Pearce, for one, took issue with it.
“Wow. I don’t know why he would do that,” Pearce told WEEI-FM. “We do our talking on the field. If he wants to run his mouth now we’ll see who is talking at the end of the series.
“I don’t think he needs to run his mouth. He’s one of the best players in the game. If that’s his personality, that’s his personality. Nothing against the guy. If that’s how he has to motivate himself, whatever.”
Steve Pearce on Alex Bregman: 'We'll see who is talking at the end of the series' https://t.co/8NR96lrgHf
— WEEI (@WEEI) October 16, 2018
Red Sox manager Alex Cora, who was an assistant coach with the Astros last year, had little to say about it.
“If you need motivation in Game 3 of the ALCS, you better check yourself,” Cora said, reported ESPN. “Because you win three more games, you go to the show. And that’s what should motivate you. Alex has different ways of motivating himself and whatever. I’ll leave it at that.”
Eovaldi, the man Bregman was trying to get into the head of, didn’t take the bait either.
“I still have a job to do,” Eovaldi said, according to Boston.com. “I’ve got to go out there and pitch my game tomorrow and I can’t have any distractions.”
Astros manager A.J. Hinch downplayed Bregman’s post.
“Welcome to the current generation,” Hinch said, reported The Associated Press. “Obviously there’s fun banter. … We want guys to have their personalities, have their fun, then go out and back it up.”
Given how they responded to the Judge slight, the Sox will likely try to use this as extra motivation against the Astros. Because, in sports, it’s not the nature of the perceived slight that matters, it’s how players and managers use it to motivate the troops.
Game 3, pitting Eovaldi against the Astros’ Dallas Keuchel, starts at 5:09 p.m. Eastern on Tuesday.
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