Red Sox loose, prepared for ALCS

Red Sox loose, prepared for ALCS
October 11, 2013, 8:45 pm
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Stephen Drew enjoys some time with his son during Friday's workout at Fenway Park.

(AP Photo)

BOSTON – Before the Red Sox workout at Fenway Park on a warm, sparkling afternoon on Friday, a shirtless Mike Napoli took a towel out to the field, spread it out on the back of the mound, and lay down in the bright sun.
 
Meanwhile, Jake Peavy took the cigar store wooden Indian out of the dugout, across the diamond, and stuck it on third base, where he was joined by David Ross for what looked like a chat with the statue that has become the team’s good luck totem.
 
At the same time, Ryan Dempster was hitting golf balls with a couple of irons from the grass in front of the visitors’ dugout out to right field.
 
It might not be a team’s typical routine before a league championship series, but for this team the atypical has become their routine.
 
“I think that’s why we are where we are at this point in the season,” Dempster said. “Is that we’re having so much fun from day one of spring training. We really are. But at the same, I think we’re allowed to have that fun but we have that fun because of all the hard work we put in. We’re extremely prepared. It starts from the top. You look at the  leadership, guys like [Dustin Pedroia, David Ortiz] the pitching staff, guys like Jonny [Lester] and [John Lackey].  It’s just been filtering down and so I think when you’re relaxed,  you’re just enjoying the ride. And we’re excited for the game to start tomorrow, and go out and see where we can find ourselves a week to 10 days from now.”
 
“It’s definitely a team that has fun, a team that enjoys coming to the yard every day,” said Jacoby Ellsbury. “But at the same time, when we step on that field it’s time to bare down and play the game the right way, play the game hard and we do that.”
 
It’s just a little fun before the games.
 
“That’s who we are,” Peavy said. “That’s who this team is. This team is loose. This team is not going to get uptight and play uptight. This team is a band of brothers. Some people call us idiots, some people call us whatever. But we show up ready to play. We have looseness about ourselves. Jonny Gomes running around being who he is. Ryan Dempster having fun. Everybody having fun, but a prepared fun, a ready-to-go fun. At 7:00 we will play as hard as any team that’s ever put on a uniform. All 25 of us will be ready to go.  When you can play that loose, your natural ability, your talent can play. When you get tight and tense your natural ability and talent is held back a little. I think it means a lot that we can be loose. And we expect to be in this situation. We want to be in this situation, and nobody's afraid to play.”
 
But, after another extended layoff before a postseason series, they are ready to start the games.
 
“Yeah, we’re ready to go,” Peavy said. “As baseball players we’re used to paying. We want to play. A few days off, it’s been good because of the travel schedule. I’m sure Detroit’s a little bit weary. But come 8:00 tomorrow night they’ll be ready to go, and we will, too, and just let the chips fall where they may.”