Baseball teams can find motivation under any rock or behind any tree. Maybe it’s a quote in the paper. Maybe it’s a SportsCenter segment. Maybe it’s a talk radio scorcher.
Or if you’re the 2021 Red Sox, maybe it’s the MLB.com power rankings.
Before the Red Sox faced the Mets and right-hander Jacob deGrom, aka The Best Pitcher on Earth, on Wednesday, manager Alex Cora was joking around with shortstop Xander Bogaerts.
“We beat this guy,” Cora told him, “we might be No. 1 in the nation.”
It turns out that to the list of idiosyncrasies that already includes tunnel time in the home run laundry cart and waving into the dugout like exuberant middle schoolers, the Red Sox can add a college-style infatuation with their national ranking.
The Red Sox opened