Shane Victorino Admits He Wanted to Stay in Philly Last Season, but Now Relishes New Opportunity in Boston

December 17, 2012 – 5:45 am by Steven Cuce

Shane Victorino was worried about staying in Philadelphia. He was focused on that during the season instead of playing the game. Victorino admits it got to him because he loved Philly, but now he’s looking forward to 2013.

The Flyin’ Hawaiian signed a three-year deal worth $39 million to play for the Red Sox because of the tradition and makeup of the team. Victorino is excited for a fresh start in Boston.

Shane Victorino joined WEEI in Boston with Mut and Merloni to discuss being able to handle the pressure from the Boston media, struggling last year because he was thinking about his contract, playing on a wrist injury last season, changing the personality of the Red Sox clubhouse and being excited about his new deal.

We believe it’s better to learn how to fail in big markets like Philadelphia because it prepares you to play in Boston. Do you agree?

“Absolutely, 100 percent of that. Am I going to miss Philly? One hundred percent. But again, I will always call that home. It will always have a special place in my heart. When you talk about the fans and all that kind of stuff that we were able to create, and at the end of the day it’s about going out there and having fun. It’s about going out there and being the team we can be. Here in Boston you have that great fan base. You have the people who are hard-working, that love the game, who are passionate about the game, who know the game and understand the game. All those things where, yes ,it’s an added incentive to come to a place like this. And I’ve been very fortunate to play eight seasons in Philly and have that opportunity to play in a market like that and, again, for me it’s going out there and just being myself and going there and having fun and giving 100 percent. At the end of the day, I can’t make everyone happy, but I go out there and play hard and play the game correctly. That’s all I can do.”

What played into your struggles last year?

“[The talk of being traded because it was a contract year] definitely played into it. … You can’t control what happens off the field, and I think sometimes, as athletes, and the nature of the beast is you want to do this and you want that and you want the best for you, but at the end of the day all you want to do is go out there and play the game. Last year, I think early on I let a lot of that get to me. I wanted to stay in Philly and I wanted to get a contract done and this was before the season started at the end of spring training. Then obviously not getting something done and going into the season hoping that I would stay in Philly and all those kind of things. You can’t control what happens off the field. You can only control what happens on the field. Shifting my focus to that and trying to finish as strong as I could was my goal, and again, I’m a Red Sox. I put on that uniform for the first time today in that press conference and I’m excited.”

Did your hand bother you last season? How are you feeling now?

“Oh, absolutely. … I ended the season with a little wrist injury. I played the last week. I felt good. Again, it hasn’t bothered me. I’ve been doing some cardio and boxing as part of my offseason regimen. My wrist feels fine and everything feels fine. I feel healthy and, again, last year — and for the first time in two years — I never went on the DL. Again, that’s a positive thing I look at, that I was able to stay healthy at age 31, and now being 32 I plan on staying healthy and playing a full season and going out there and having fun doing it.”

Was it ever discussed with you that the Boston Red Sox now want to bring in free agent players with personality?

“I said it in my press conference today and you guys heard me say it, I look at it this way: If you win, everyone is happy. You could have 25 guys who are not pulling the same chain. When you are winning, no one freaks about chemistry. When you are not winning, people always want to find an answer. People want to find a reason for why you are not winning or why you are not being that team that you can be. Of course people are going to talk about the chemistry and, for me, I look at it as the guys who are in here — the Dustin Pedroia, David Ortiz, Jon Lester, those guys who I call the faces of the franchise — you look at those guys … and their personalities and who they are. When you win, everything is happy. When you lose, people are going to try to find a reason. Chemistry is there. It’s just a matter of adding additions like myself and Mike Napoli and Jonny Gomes going out there and being a part of the team and having fun. That’s where the chemistry will all unfold and let it all be.”

Listen to Shane Victorino on WEEI in Boston here

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