Chances are if you’ve watched a Red Sox game this postseason, you’ve seen the team hit a home run. Through their first seven postseason games, they have racked up a whopping 16 homers. That was twice as many as the next closest-ranked team, the Astros, before Game 3 of the ALCS.
All of Boston’s homers this postseason have come with a unique celebration. The Red Sox celebrate their dingers by giving the hitter a ride across the dugout in the team’s laundry cart.
The tradition has been fully embraced not only by Boston’s fans but by its players too.
“It’s just something stupid but fun,” J.D. Martinez said of the tradition to NBC Sports’ John Tomase in April. “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.”
Here’s everything you need to know about the Red Sox’s laundry cart celebration, from its origins to its current chauffeur.
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How did the Red Sox’s laundry cart celebration start?
The Red Sox’s laundry cart celebration began during the 2020 MLB season. The Red Sox were one of the worst teams in baseball during the abbreviated campaign, posting a 24-36 record and finishing last in the AL East.
So, as second baseman Christian Arroyo explained, the team was just trying to find a way to have fun and stay loose during their struggles.
“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 in April. “We’re definitely having fun with it.”
The idea was the brainchild of backup catcher Kevin Plawecki, who came up with the idea after assistant coach Jason Varitek urged him to come up with a fun post-homer celebration.
“I couldn’t really think of anything,” Plawecki said, per MassLive.com. “And last year, being as tough a year as it was for all of us in general, just try to find a way to spruce things up. And I found this laundry cart in Tampa and I think [Christian] Vázquez was up to bat at the time. [Varitek] was like, ‘Push him down the tunnel in this laundry cart.’ And here we are today still doing it.”
The tradition caught on and became a staple and important ritual in the Red Sox’s dugout.
“It’s fun when guys hit homers,” Arroyo said. “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.”
The Red Sox have continued the tradition all year long and it has carried over into the postseason.
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Do the Red Sox bring a laundry cart around with them?
The Red Sox don’t bring a cart with them on the road. They rely on the opposing team to have a suitable laundry cart with which to perform the celebration. Sometimes, there’s a certain amount of customization needed for the cart, as Martinez noted during a trip to Camden Yards in April.
“It was freaking really deep,” Martinez said of the Orioles’ laundry cart. “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 also had issues finding a suitable cart during a series in Oakland against the Athletics. Plawecki made an announcement about the situation on Instagram in early June.
For the most part, though, the Red Sox have made do with what they’ve been given.
And obviously, the Red Sox have had no issues at home. They have a custom-made laundry cart that was built specifically for the team with the celebration in mind.
“We had a company reach out to us,” Plawecki said. “They wanted to make our own custom cart. They reached out to Tommy (McLaughlin), our clubhouse manager. We put something together and here we are.”
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Who pushes the Red Sox laundry cart during the celebration?
It used to vary, but during the postseason, that role belongs to Jose Iglesias. He joined the Red Sox in early September following his release from the Angels. Because he was signed so late in the year, he was ineligible to play in the postseason.
However, Iglesias — a former Red Sox draft pick who played for the team from 2011 to the 2013 trade deadline — has stuck around the team for the postseason push. He named himself the official chauffeur of the laundry cart celebration.
“It’s a good way for him to stay involved with the guys,” Plawecki said of Iglesias, per the AP. “I know it kills him to not actually be out there with us. He’s such a help for all of us.”