Red Sox manager Alex Cora hosted a Super Bowl watch party at his home in Fort Myers on Sunday night.
Third base coach Carlos Febles, outfielder Masataka Yoshida, infielders Enrique Hernandez and Trevor Story, and former Red Sox catcher Christian Vazquez were all on hand to watch the Kansas City Chiefs come from behind and defeat the Philadelphia Eagles by a final score of 38-35.
Vazquez, who was traded to the Astros last summer, signed a three-year, $30 million deal with the Twins back in December. Minnesota, like Boston, calls Fort Myers its spring training home, so the veteran backstop did not have to travel far to reunite with some of his former teammates.
“There was a lot of giving him a hard time because [Cora] told us to show up at 4 p.m. and he told him to show up at 5,” Hernandez said of Vazquez when speaking with reporters (including MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith) at JetBlue Park on Monday. “He was like, ‘Well, he told me to show up at 5.’ I was like, ‘Well, you’re on another team now. We were talking about the signs and stuff and you can’t know the signs now.’”
While Hernandez and Vazquez are no longer teammates on the Red Sox, the two will represent Puerto Rico in the upcoming World Baseball Classic next month. Boston is scheduled to host Team Puerto Rico in an exhibition contest leading up to the tournament on March 8.
“He’s been going to their facility for a couple weeks now,” added Hernandez. “So it was just asking him who’s there already and what’s different from there and here. There’s not much he can say yet because camp hasn’t started but it was just good seeing him. We kept in touch in the offseason. But seeing each other in person is just good.”
Yoshida, who was an early arrival at Red Sox camp last week, was introduced to two new things on Sunday night: American football and Puerto Rican cuisine. Cora’s party was catered by chef Herminio Ithier of HIT Food & Beverage Entertainment.
“A lot of questions to Masa asking if he knew what a touchdown was and all that,” said Hernandez. “It was also his first time eating Puerto Rican food. So it was good. It was good having him there and having him form part of the group and it was also good seeing [Vazquez] again.”
Yoshida came over from Japan and signed a five-year, $90 million contract with the Red Sox in December after spending the last seven seasons with the Orix Buffaloes of Nippon Professional Baseball. The 29-year-old had a tougher time adjusting to the intricacies of football as opposed to unfamiliar food.
“I think food is a universal language,” Hernandez explained. “Everybody eats it the same way. Football is a little more complicated. A lot of rules when it comes to football. Not a lot of rules when it comes to eating.”
Like Hernandez, Yoshida will leave the Red Sox in the coming weeks to train with Team Japan ahead of the 2023 World Baseball Classic.
(Picture of Masataka Yoshida: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)