FORT MYERS, Fla. -- For new Red Sox ace Chris Sale, the best part about arriving to work every day are the banners.They are not merely reminders of the recent success by a tradition-laden franchise, but also the left-hander's strongest motivator."You just walk here and you look at that, and
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- For new Red Sox ace Chris Sale, the best part about arriving to work every day are the banners.
They are not merely reminders of the recent success by a tradition-laden franchise, but also the left-hander's strongest motivator.
"You just walk here and you look at that, and you see all the banners. We've got a lot of banners here," Sale said following the first official workout of Spring Training. "I'd like to add to that. You can just feel what this team is about coming in with just the intensity from not only the players, but the staff holding a very high standard, and I'm looking forward to getting into the process."
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In his seven Major League seasons, Sale has never tasted the postseason. He would love nothing more than to be on the mound instead of his living room in October.
"I always watch the postseason," said Sale. "Unfortunately, I've always had the opportunity to watch it. I always watch it just to see what it's like, to see how those guys handle themselves, see what the game is like, and just dreaming about getting there. That's all I ever wanted to do, and when I tell you that, I'm being completely honest.
"That's the whole reason we're here, to win. They wouldn't keep score if winning wasn't important. I'm here to win. I know I've said that 157 times, but that's why I'm here."
The blockbuster trade of the winter matched an intense and driven competitor with a city that is rabid about baseball.
"There's expectations with anything, not only being traded, but I expect a lot of myself," said Sale. "I have very high expectations for myself. I demand a lot from myself. I don't think it'll be anything different. I'll be harder on myself than [the media] will. I'm not worried about that."
Sale realizes his fire got the best of him during a couple of incidents last year, most notably when he shredded some throwback White Sox jerseys.
"Nobody's perfect, you're going to make mistakes," said Sale. "All I really want to say on that is you live and you learn. I have two sons now. A 6-year-old and a 2-month-old, and I tell them, 'You're going to make mistakes, but if you learn from your mistakes, that's the key.' Everybody here has made a mistake. If you learn from it, you become a better person. If you keep making the same mistakes, you're kind of spinning your tires."
It probably isn't a good idea to try to make conversation with Sale on the day he is pitching.
"That's a fiercely intense competitor," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "You're around him here, and he's very genuine guy. But he brings an edge with him in between the lines that will fit in very well here."
"The only thing I'm going to really say on that is I'm a completely different person when I'm here and when I'm in between the painted lines. I can say that for sure," said Sale. "There's definitely a switch that goes on. The things on the field, I don't do in my everyday life.
"I don't know if I need more passion, maybe just a little bit more focus. That's my game plan for this year -- dial it in on the important things that are baseball-related and go with that."
During Tuesday's workout, Sale threw in the bullpen alongside Boston's two other ace-caliber pitchers -- Rick Porcello and David Price.
"When you have guys of that caliber, it raises the intensity," said Sale. "You see someone else going the extra mile, you're going to follow, and vice versa, if you're going the extra mile, people around you are more willing to go there, too. So far, so good."
As Sale starts the process of integrating into his new team, the ultimate goal will be on his mind every day.
"It's everything; that's why we sign up to play this game," said Sale. "That's why we show up for Spring Training. You don't want to start a year knowing when your last game is going to be. The preparation, the hard work, the aches, the pains, the sweat, all of that goes into getting to the ultimate goal and that's getting to the postseason and winning a world championship. Anything that you can do to get there needs to be done. No questions asked."
Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and **Facebook**.