A year after placing last in the AL East, the Boston Red Sox claimed an ALDS win over the Tampa Bay Rays to reach the ALCS. The team made that jump with a tradition it began during last year's pandemic-shortened season: the home run laundry cart.
Each time a Red Sox player hits a home run, a teammate pushes them through the dugout on a laundry cart. Catcher Kevin Plawecki began the tradition by giving Christian Vázquez a ride midway through the team's disappointing 2020 campaign. But as the team improved this year, a newcomer took over the cart-pushing duties in shortstop Jose Iglesias.
"Officially, I am the chauffeur of the laundry cart," Iglesias told AP Sports. "That was very fun in Tampa. They keep me very, very busy. And I hope I get busier over the course of the playoffs."
Cart pushing will be the only in-game activity keeping Iglesias busy in this MLB Postseason, as the Cuban finished the regular season strong but was ineligible for Boston's postseason roster. Boston claimed Iglesias off waivers on Sept. 6, five days after the playoff eligibility deadline. Iglesias eventually started 17 of the Red Sox's final 19 regular-season games, batting .356 to go along with 21 hits and seven RBIs.
Iglesias won't be making any laundry cart rides this postseason, but he realized a dream by taking the "carrito" for a spin after a September home run in Seattle. Carrito is a Spanish word meaning trolley, and Iglesias lovingly refers to the laundry cart as such.
"Actually, when I came to the team, I was like, 'My dream is to be in that carrito,'" Iglesias said. "And then I did it in Seattle, so that was very fun. It's just a great way to enjoy something that helps the team."
Boston is far from the only MLB team to employ a home run tradition. Home-run hitters from the New York Mets ride stuffed ponies through the dugout; San Diego Padres wear a seven-pound necklace called the "Swagg Chain"; Philadelphia Phillies share a straw "Home Run Hat," Toronto Blue Jays join the "HR Club" by donning a blue blazer; and the Colorado Rockies wear "homer shades."
Iglesias, a 10-year MLB veteran who's played for five teams, hopes home run traditions evolve within the league yet still holds reverence for the "carrito."
"You see teams doing little things around the league, and the carrito is one of my favorites," said Iglesias, who spent his first two and a half MLB seasons in Boston. "It's a privilege. It's a privilege to be here with the guys. I'm very, very happy to contribute in any way I can, whether it's energy-wise, if they see something on the field that I can make them better. Just [being] a part of this great organization in such a special time of the year, I'm very blessed to be a part of it."
The Red Sox will continue their playoff run with an ALCS matchup with the Houston Astros. Game 1 is slated for 8:07 ET in Houston on Friday.