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Shane Victorino breaks down, thanks Boston for giving him chance to win World Series: ‘Let’s not forget the good things’

07.28.15 at 12:28 am ET
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Shane Victorino breaks down in tears in his final press conference before the Boston media Monday night. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

Shane Victorino breaks down in tears in his final press conference before the Boston media Monday night. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

Boston will always be a part of Shane Victorino.

The veteran outfielder traded from the Red Sox to the Angels Monday afternoon for minor league infielder Josh Rutledge broke down several times in his final appearance in Boston after the Red Sox‘ 10-8 loss to the White Sox Monday night at Fenway Park.

“People doubted me in 2012 and the Red Sox gave me a chance,” Victorino said. “And to win a World Series, it’s one of those things where I have utmost respect for John Henry, Larry Lucchino, Tom [Werner], Ben and John. And more importantly, my teammates, I’m going to miss them. I think that’s the toughest part is understanding, coming to wits now, at the end of this [press] conference, is that I’m going to miss these guys. But I get to go to a place to watch some pretty good players. I got that opportunity to play against them a week ago in Anaheim and I look forward to watching a guy like Mike Trout, Albert Pujols after getting to play against them all these years. More importantly, I thank the Red Sox for giving me that opportunity.”

Victorino, who held it together for the first five minutes of his presser, was asked about being prepared for the eventuality of trade deadline week. But before he could gather himself, he broke down again in tears, pausing 15 seconds before offering up his response.

“You try to deny it,” Victorino said. “You try to overlook it. I had a discussion with my agent because things were being said and I wanted to get an update and I told him I want to stay here. I wanted to stay here. Not knowing where things were going to go, less than four hours later, you get called in in the middle of your BP session. Funny thing was before that, I saw Ben walk by on the field. I saw our assistant GM walk by. You sense something. You sense kind of that thing that I guess being around the game long enough, I walk by and less than two minutes later, getting called out of BP. As you’re on the walk in, you say to yourself what could be the situation. You hope that you get traded to a contender or a place where you can make a playoff run.

“For me, going to Anaheim, going back to the West Coast, being close to home, that’s the kind of things that remain positive in my mind. It’s not that simple. I am what I am and I am who I am. I’m bred one way. I want to win and I wanted to win another one here. I wanted to win, period, and be with these guys. But the last couple of years has been tough. Obviously, for us as players but fans, ownership and the city.

“But let’s not forget the good things. What I witnessed in my time here is they don’t want to stay in the doldrums for long. And that’s the thing that’s I’ve always respect for the Red Sox, even from afar. Every year, they try to produce great teams and try to go out there produce teams that this fan base loves. Having that opportunity to be a part of it. Obviously, these are two years that we didn’t expect and never hopes of being where we are and what happened. But, hey, we’re all part of growing up through the process.

“One of my teammates said, ‘Everything happens for a reason.’ That’s the kind of stuff I try to take in and soak in and understand that moment.”

Of course, there can be no final goodbye to Victorino in Boston without recalling several things. First, he sparked a remarkable postseason run, becoming the first player in major league history to have the series-clinching hit in three consecutive postseason series, as the Red Sox beat the Rays, Tigers and Cardinals in 2013.

He was one of the Red Sox players who help the City of Boston heal in the wake of the Marathon bombings at the Boston Marathon and promoted “Boston Strong” as a motto for the team and the city.

“It’s very emotional for more reasons than one,” Victorino said. “As I said from Day 1, I wanted to come here and finish my contract here. That’s one thing as an athlete you focus on that and when you sign in a place. Yes, the last few years have been a struggle for me. It was definitely tough on me from the standpoint of not being out there. When I talk about the things that have happened here, I take a lot of the fault for not being out there, not being healthy.

“I think that’s the toughest thing for me, the emotional part. What am I going to be remembered as in a city like this, where it’s always fun to play in a place like this. It’s memories that will last a lifetime. That’s the kind of emotional aspect that I hope people remember me one way and understand that injuries is something than an athlete doesn’t want to face.

“I hope that I’ll be remembered for what happened in ’13. You read the comments and you read some of the messages that are being delivered to you or being said. You understand it now. I guess sometimes when someone’s gone, they finally get to express how you much you meant to a city or how much you meant to them. Being a part of that ’13 team, we use that slogan and it will always be a part of us: ‘Boston Strong.’ It’s been very emotional.”

And his walkup song, Bob Marley’s “Three Little Birds” became an anthem for the team and the city at Fenway Park, as fans sang, “Every little thing is going to be all right.”

When he was asked about the significance of that song, Victorino broke down one final time.

“These are tears of joy,” he said sobbing. “Understandably so. Think about a song as an athlete. To have a city sing it and have it be that song. It’s something I’ll never forget. When I go to Anaheim, I’m going to have to change it for the sole sake of the respect of Red Sox Nation. I think the fans of this region fell in love with a song. It means a lot to not only myself but my family and friends that were here to witness it.

“Aw, this sucks. It’s just one of those things you bite down and try to move on. That song will always be remembered, all the messages or all the things that are being said. It’s one of those things you’ll never forget. The bigger moment for me on any kind of highlight I’ll get to watch as a Red Sox player, that song is probably going to be in the background or being chanted. Hope that they never forget that song. I know I’ll never forget that song. I think I’m probably going to change when I get to Anaheim. It’s going to be something by Bob Marley. I have a song I was going to change to but I said I better not.”

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