By CBSBoston.com Staff

BOSTON (CBS) — The Boston Red Sox have been sending a lot of baseballs on a long ride so far in 2021. And as you probably noticed, a round trip around the bases also leads to a fun trip in the Boston dugout.

After hitting a homer, Red Sox batters are treated with a lift in a laundry cart in the dugout. It’s one of those quirky team-building antics that clubs utilize to make the 162-game season …. fun.

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“It’s just something stupid but fun,” J.D. Martinez said after taking three trips in the dugout cart in Baltimore on Sunday. “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.”

You can certainly tell from the smiles on everyone’s faces that the fellas are enjoying their time in the laundry cart. It’s actually not new to the team either, as they started the tradition during a dismal 2020 season. They needed something to make the team smile a little bit during that campaign, and the laundry cart provided just that.

As infielder Christian Arroyo explained Monday, it was backup catcher Kevin Plawecki — and a little feedback from coach Jason Varitek — who came up with the idea.

“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 told reporters during his Monday morning Zoom session. “We’re definitely having fun with it. It’s fun when guys hit homers. 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 kind takes it to the next level, the next step of ‘wow, we’re really having fun.’

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“We’re going to keep rolling with it,” Arroyo added. It’s unclear if that pun was intended or not.

Following Sunday’s six-homer outburst by the Boston offense, the Red Sox are up to 13 dingers on the season. That’s a lot of mileage for any laundry cart, but luckily, the celebratory treks aren’t done by just one carrier. The cart doesn’t travel with the team, so the Sox rely on whatever they can find on the road.

It has led to some rather uncomfortable trips for Martinez, who leads the team with five homers (and five cart rides) on the year. Sunday’s cart, as the DH explained, wasn’t built for his 6-foot-3 frame.

“This one was too deep,” he said. “It was freaking really deep. 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.”

Real world problems call for real world solutions. Red Sox players will likely have to keep getting creative when it comes to making those carts a little more comfortable, because it doesn’t look like anything is going to slow down this powerful Red Sox offense at the moment.

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That should lead to plenty more cart rides that provide a few seconds of joy after Boston hitters round the bases.

CBSBoston.com Staff