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The Pressure of Playing in Boston

Is it Myth or fact? Is the pressure so intense in Boston that major league baseball players can’t take it.

Examples:

Edgar Renteria signed a 40 million dollar contract in the winter of ’04 and played so poorly he was moved the next offseason.

J.D. Drew came to Boston with a career .890 OPS and 100 games in to this season is at about .755

Julio Lugo came to Boston with a career .277 average and now has a .233 average.

Coco maybe. He has struggled ever since being in Boston except in June and July this year. Hate to jinx his changing stroke now.

Eric Gagne has allowed 7 ER in his 4 IP in Boston.

Counter Examples:

David Ortiz, Mike Lowell, Dice-K, Mark Bellhorn and about anybody doing well in Boston.

It is said that the pressure in Boston is higher then anywhere else. It can be blamed on WEEI’s relentless sports talk. Maybe the constant media coverage from people like Shaughnessy who need to create stories everyday. The worst part of being a baseball player in Boston would have to be the most obsessive fans in the world.

Even David Wells has said he felt uncomfortable in Boston. David Wells not exactly being a guy who shys away from attention. Dice-K has commented that in Boston he never has privacy. Yet many would say this year he has overperformed many peoples first year expectations of him.

On the flip side, Mark Bellhorn admitted the booing got into his head. Yet in 2004, he had one of his best seasons ever in Boston. And when he went to San Diego, one of the most laid back places in baseball, he had one of his worst seasons ever.

So currently, is Gagne another victim of a big city fever?

Gagne did spend his best years in LA LA land. The attention isn’t as big as in Boston but bigger then most small cities. Gagne so far has been a bombshell. With two outs hitters have been 5 for 8 against Gagne. He’s allowed 3 more ER then innings pitched. But he has only been in Boston for a couple weeks.

So does going to a big city hurt players?

Here’s a view from Hardball Times – Big Cities, Big Problem

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