Though he was only in Boston for a single season, Red Sox fans made quite an impression on Justin Turner.
The 39-year-old two-time All-Star recently agreed to a one-year deal with the Blue Jays, ending his Red Sox tenure. On his way out, Turner posted a message to Boston supporters on social media.
“Who knew that in eight short months a Southern California kid and his wife would be embraced by a ‘rival city’ the way we were?” Turner wrote in the intro of his caption.
Having played for the Dodgers for nine seasons before coming to Boston in 2023, Turner — who faced the Red Sox in the 2018 World Series — noted that it “didn’t take long to feel the support and love from an entire city.”
“One fastball to the face and I was in,” he joked, referencing the time he was hit by a pitch in a scary scene during spring training a year ago shortly after signing with the Red Sox. He fortunately avoided serious injury, and returned to play in 146 games over the course of the season, batting .276 with 23 home runs and 96 RBIs.
Turner was also appreciative of getting to wear the No. 2 jersey that was once worn by Jerry Remy.
“I knew how much the #2 worn by the late great Jerry ‘RemDawg’ Remy meant to the Boston base but I made a promise to wear it with honor and make him proud,” he explained.
Reflecting on the crowds at Fenway Park, Turner called the energy of Red Sox fans “electric.”
Beyond baseball, he thanked Boston for treating him and his family well.
“We had huge support in hosting our annual 5K Turner Trot with gorgeous views along the Charles River and finishing at The Hatch,” said Turner. “Our favorite thing to do was walk the dogs around the city to new parks and reservoirs and everyone made us feel at home. It is almost insane how many great relationships we were able to build in such a short time.”
Looking ahead to 2024, the Blue Jays and Red Sox won’t play until June. The two teams’ first series will be played in Toronto (starting June 17). Turner will be set to make his Fenway Park return shortly afterward when the Blue Jays travel to play the Red Sox again (starting June 24).
“See you soon Boston,” he concluded, “you’ll always have my respect!”
Hayden Bird can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.