LOS ANGELES — Every once in a while, we hear about a motivational speech in a World Series shifting the tide. The 2013 Red Sox credited a David Ortiz speech in Game 4 to turn things around. The rain delay Jason Heyward speech in 2016 Game 7 will go down in Cubs lore. In 2018, perhaps we have a much more colorful entry. Red Sox ace Chris Sale was credited by teammates for getting them going from the dugout in Saturday night’s come-from-behind win over the Dodgers.
Only “speech” probably is less accurate here than saying that he was berating them. Take a look at the start of this video:
There was much discussion about it after the Game 4 comeback victory.
“I’m sure it was something to fire us up, and obviously it worked,” said Mitch Moreland. “So it was a good one for us.”
“I was down in the tunnel. I heard someone yelling,” Brock Holt said. “And Mookie [Betts] came down, he was going down to watch some video. And I said, ‘Who’s yelling up there?’ He said ‘Sale.’ Oh, my God, he was mad at us. I think that kind of lit a fire under everybody. We didn’t want to see him mad anymore. So we decided to start swinging the bats a little bit. And hopefully brings that fire tomorrow.”
“At that moment that was huge because it motivated us,” Rafael Devers said through an interpreter. “It scared me a little bit because I had never seen him yell like that and the words that he was saying, I had never heard that come from him before. But, you know, we came out sluggish and that moment helped us get motivated for the rest of the game.”
Devers also noted that, yes, he understood was Sale was saying but, no, he couldn’t repeat it during the interview.
Red Sox manager Alex Cora took a different route:
“Chris, in the dugout screaming? My English is very limited, so I didn’t understand what he was saying.”
Cora speaks English as fluently as you and I, for those who don’t get the joke. He did get serious after that, though.
“But we felt that we had no energy, actually none whatsoever,” Cora said. “It had to do with Rich Hill, the way he was throwing the ball. Obviously the big swing by Yasiel [Puig]. But one thing about our team, we keep playing. It’s been like that the whole time. We know that in the last third of the game we’ve been really good throughout the season, in the playoffs, and Mitch [Moreland] with a big swing and that got us going.”
Sale, who is not starting in Game 5, is known to have a temper and he’s the leader of the pitching staff, a perennial All-Star and Cy Young contender. He took a different method to motivate his teammates and apparently it worked. I’m not sure I buy that’s the sole reason they turned it around, but it’s always good to apply the Crash Davis corollary: If the Red Sox think that’s why they got it going, that’s why they got it going.
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