EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Sports

August 31, 2013

Victorino: Boston's new ironman

Despite being banged up, rightfielder hasn't missed a game in August

BOSTON — Shane Victorino — a.k.a “The Flyin’ Hawaiian” — has done what Carl Crawford failed do in his two years here in Boston. Victorino has proved all his critics wrong.

Crawford always looked scared. He avoided the media whenever he could. He put too much pressure on himself. He cared what people thought about him. That still shows by his constant comments about Boston.

Victorino, on the other hand, loves the environment that is Boston and doesn’t care what you, me, any media member or anyone at all (expect maybe his teammates and coaches) think about him as a ballplayer.

He knows he’s good and he doesn’t need you to “pump his tires” as Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo liked to say during the 2011 Stanley Cup finals.

“He’s been a complete player for us,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said.

Yes, yes he has.

Victorino had another productive night yesterday. He went 2 for 4 with a walk, RBI, two runs and his 18th stolen base in a 4-3 win here over the White Sox.

Victorino exemplifies what this team is about. He is a grinder. He’s tough as nails. He’d run throw a wall. He grows on you. He loves to play and loves to play in a town where every game — every play — means something. He would choose a World Series title over an MVP award.

How many of you wanted the Red Sox to sign Josh Hamilton? How many of you scratched your head when Victorino tweeted Dec. 4, “Just agreed to join the Boston @RedSox in the middle of paradise. #BLESSED!!! Can’t wait to get to Boston!”

Well, Victorino is batting .296 with 12 homers, 51 RBIs, 23 doubles and two triples. He has nine outfield assists, the most by a Red Sox right fielder since Trot Nixon in 2005. Hamilton, meanwhile, is batting .234 with a .294 on-base percentage for the hapless Angels.

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