Tomase: So what’s behind this laundry cart celebration after home runs? originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
Winning teams can easily make baseball look fun.
But it turns out one of the worst Red Sox teams of the last 50 years is actually responsible for one of the most enjoyable developments of 2021.
By now you’ve probably noticed the laundry cart ride Red Sox hitters take across the dugout after hitting a home run. They enjoyed six such jaunts on Sunday afternoon vs. the Orioles in a 14-9 slugfest.
The question is where the practice arose, and it actually dates back to the end of last season, when the Red Sox were trying to make the best of a lost campaign.
According to infielder Christian Arroyo, backup catcher Kevin Plawecki hatched the idea with an indirect assist from coach Jason Varitek, who wondered what the cart was doing in the dugout one series. The Red Sox decided to take Christian Vazquez for a spin and it caught on.
Now when a Red Sox player homers, you can expect a jumble of arms and legs while he zooms from one side of the dugout to the other like an oversized baby in a stroller.
“It’s just something stupid but fun,” said J.D. Martinez after his three-homer effort on Sunday. “We enjoy it. Any little thing we can do to create some camaraderie with the guys and kind of bring everybody tighter and closer together, it’s been fun.”
It was easy to miss last season, because the Red Sox were terrible and uninteresting, but it caught the eye this year when Vazquez launched a game-tying homer in the ninth inning against the Rays on April 6 and then let his teammates power him from one end of the dugout to the other.
Cart rides for everyone!
Red Sox HRs in Baltimore (three games)
“It was just one of those things last year where we were trying to have some fun in a situation that wasn’t the most ideal, and we just carried it over to this season,” Arroyo said. “We’re definitely having fun with it. It’s fun when guys hit homers, when you’re running around the bases you’re not thinking about it, you’re thinking about the swing you made, but then you get to the dugout and see that laundry cart, it just takes it to the next level, the next step of wow, we’re really having fun.
“We’re going to keep rolling with it. It’s just one of those things we enjoy doing. Hopefully there’s a lot of those this series and a lot more of those the rest of the season.”
The Red Sox do not travel with a laundry cart, instead relying on whatever’s in the visiting clubhouse when they arrive. In Baltimore, this meant piling into a cart of flawed dimensions for someone like the 6-foot-3, 230-pound Martinez.
“This one was too deep,” Martinez said. “It was freaking really deep. I was like, ‘You guys are going to have to carry me to get me out of this thing.’ We had to fill it up with towels.”
The Red Sox entered Sunday’s game with seven homers and then nearly doubled that total in one day. With Rafael Devers heating up, Martinez on fire, and Alex Verdugo and Kiké Hernández starting to find their power strokes, the Red Sox can only hope there are many more laundry rides in their future.
“Everything is going great over here,” Devers said. “The vibe here has been great. Everyone is behind each other and we’re all having fun as a group. The hitters, the pitchers, we’re all in the same zone right now and it feels great being able to come here and win the ballgames we’re winning because the atmosphere is awesome.”