ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Perhaps the Red Sox would not be here if Jake Peavy had not stumbled upon a certain type of spiritual intervention, namely the small Native American statue acquired on a road trip out West that has become the team's lucky charm of sorts.
The grind of August had hit the Red Sox somewhat hard midway through the month with the club losing seven of 10 contests before a West Coast road trip. That's when the recently acquired righthander saw the lucky charm that ended up turning the season around, according to Peavy's story.
"We went out to San Francisco, and things were just kind of -- it wasn't that same attitude," Peavy said. "And the travel had kind of worn us down. I was walking to the field on the day of my start and walked past a smoke shop, a tobacco/liquor store. My heritage is American Indian. And I walked by and saw just in the glass window this fellow looking at me. And I looked at him and he looked at me."
Him being the oddly placed statue.
"I just kept walking and took a few more steps, and I kind of looked back and he was still looking at me," Peavy said. "And he said, 'Am I not one of the boys? Look at me. I'm your people.' I said, 'You know what? You are one of the boys.' I did a U-turn and I went in and asked how much he cost."
Unfortunately, the owner of the store wasn't prepared to sell the antique item.
"I told the guy there was a price tag on everything in life," Peavy said.
And soon, Peavy was headed to AT&T Park with "Chief" wrapped in his arms. Upon his arrival at the park, he quickly marched into the training room, where several players lay.
"We came up with some elaborate story about how he had some healing spirit, so he started in the training room, getting some guys right," Peavy said.
While Peavy lost his start that night, the Red Sox went on to win five of six, including a series victory over the Dodgers in Los Angeles, and finished the regular season by winning 23 of their last 34 games.
"We had a serious team talk with him and told him if he didn't show up tomorrow with a little bit better attitude and show us his powers, then we were going to have to lose him on the plane ride to LA," Peavy said. "But he showed up in a big way."
According to Peavy, the aforementioned "Chief" has played a role in mending Jacoby Ellsbury, who missed most of September with a compression fracture in his foot.
"He helped Jacoby get back from injury because Jacoby has got Indian in him," Peavy said. "They had a good talk."
And over the course of time, the token has developed facial hair much like many of the team members with signature beards. In addition, he's acquired additional items.
"His wardrobe has grown," Peavy said. "He's holding some cigars in his hand, and those are celebratory cigars, when we do hopefully reach our goal. We're going to smoke those cigars that he's got in the box."
Even more, he'll ride out in style.
"He's going to ride on my duck boat if we win the World Series," Peavy said. "And we'll hook him up with a full share (of the bonus pay) as well."