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Inspired by the Celtics: Red Sox Experience the Spirit of Champions in Epic Comeback Victory

BOSTON — The home clubhouse at Fenway Park was more vibrant than usual an hour before Monday's first pitch. The Red Sox were gearing up to continue their winning streak in the opening game of a homestand against the Blue Jays. However, the usual pregame preparations took a backseat to an extraordinary event: a visit from the NBA champions, the Boston Celtics.

Ahead of a pregame ceremony to honor their NBA championship, the Celtics brought their championship spirit to the Red Sox’s clubhouse. The narrow quarters on the first base concourse of Fenway Park were filled with the energy of two professional teams mingling, sharing stories, and drawing inspiration from each other. Celtics players, including Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, proudly paraded the Larry O’Brien Trophy through the room, interacting with Red Sox players and coaches who were eager to congratulate them.

This unique pregame scene set the stage for a night of incredible resilience and determination. The Red Sox, facing a four-run deficit in the eighth inning, mounted a thrilling comeback to secure a 7-6 walk-off victory. The crowd of 35,856, which manager Alex Cora called the best at Fenway since 2021, was electrified, and the Celtics cheered from a suite down the right-field line, adding to the unforgettable atmosphere.

“The environment was incredible,” Cora said. “They were in the clubhouse at 6:15. All the players, all the coaches, families. It was different. But there’s only one chance to have the NBA champions in your clubhouse. We were prepared for the game, and then all of a sudden, you see elite athletes talking about stuff.”

Kenley Jansen, a diehard NBA fan and lifelong Lakers supporter, playfully resisted the Celtics’ green on a recent road trip. However, knowing the significance of the Celtics’ 18th title, he couldn’t help but be front and center to greet the players. Jansen, who has extensive playoff experience and a World Series title, emphasized the importance of embracing the championship mindset.

“It’s about embracing the moment. See what champions feel like,” Jansen said. “Seeing them in here gives you that atmosphere and gives you that feel to be in that situation. I played 10 years in the playoffs, three years in the World Series, and won the World Series title (in 2020). There’s nothing better than to be in those situations and that spot. I want each of these young guys to embrace the moment, go out there, and not take their foot off the gas.”

Before the game, Red Sox chairman Tom Werner chatted with Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck, Cora spent time with coach Joe Mazzulla and players, and Red Sox players, including starter Tanner Houck, took photos with the Celtics and their trophy. Jansen, in particular, wanted to congratulate veteran big man Al Horford.

“This guy grinded his whole career and finally, he got it,” Jansen said. “So I’m happy for him.” For one night, one of the greatest closers in baseball history put his Lakers allegiance aside to celebrate Boston’s champions.

“I’m a Laker fan and will always be,” Jansen said. “But as a professional athlete, it is awesome to watch these guys and get to know them and see how they bust their butt and grind it out the whole season to win a championship. It’s amazing. I’m happy for all of them and I’m happy for Boston, too.

“The city of Boston deserved this. In the year and a half I’ve been here now, understanding these fans and walking around the city, there’s nothing better than being in Boston. This city deserves the best all the time. It’s a very loyal fan base. They can be hard, but they get the sports. They get baseball. If you’re out there busting your butt, they appreciate you.”

After a rocky seventh inning, including two errors and a Vladimir Guerrero Jr. homer that led to a five-run surge for the Blue Jays, the Red Sox, fueled by the lively crowd and the inspiring presence of the Celtics, didn’t give up. David Hamilton homered to narrow the gap, Romy González hit a game-tying single as a pinch-hitter, and the Fenway Park video board showed Celtics players pumping up the crowd, their energy infectious.

“Overall, they did an amazing job using them to get the fans going,” Cora said.

The Red Sox entered the season without championship expectations, but their recent hot streak has shown signs of life. Veterans like Jansen are witnessing the team’s growth and learning in real time, emphasizing that embracing the moment and the championship spirit can have a profound impact.

“There’s still low expectations,” Jansen said. “Nobody’s gonna take us seriously until we get there. We’ve just got to keep learning. We’re a very young team. Everybody knows we’re young. We’ve just got to keep playing like this.

“I can’t control what the front office is going to do but this is a pretty good team and they’re learning fast at a high level.”

Both in the clubhouse and on the field, the night was one that Jansen and his teammates won’t soon forget. The timing was perfect, allowing the Red Sox to appreciate and celebrate with the Celtics, the reigning World Champions.

“There’s nothing better than that,” Jansen said. “Appreciate and celebrate with them because they’re World Champions. There’s nothing better than that.” Source:


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