FORT MYERS, Fla. — There will surely come a point this season when Red Sox pitcher Rick Porcello loads the bases with no outs in a close game. It will be then that he takes a deep breath and thinks of Tom Brady.
Watching Super Bowl LI and the improbable comeback authored by Brady and the Patriots left a deep impression on Porcello and other Sox players. It was discussion they started on Sunday night and carried into Monday while working out in the weight room at JetBlue Park.
The applicable lesson was that nothing is impossible and that no matter the sport, the same principles apply.
“There are two things you can do. You can think about how insurmountable it is to overcome or you can think about what you can control. That’s getting strike one on the next hitter and going from there,” Porcello said.
“I felt like there was a comparison there. His thought process and why he’s so good is that he’s able to slow those situations down and focus on the present and what’s in front of him. That’s really hard to do, especially in a game of that magnitude.”
Porcello opened his home to teammates and assorted wives, children, and friends for a Super Bowl-watching party. When the Falcons took a 28-3 lead in the third quarter, a few of the players started shooting darts.
“You figure the game is over. Then it was the greatest football game ever played,” righthander Matt Barnes said.
“Brady is the best ever, case closed. I felt fortunate to have watched that. That was peak football-watching.”
Porcello grew up in New Jersey rooting for the New York Jets. But he has come to appreciate the Patriots since being traded to the Red Sox.
“You have a connection to the community. It’s where you live for a good portion of the year and that’s where you play,” he said. “You kind of feel that, how excited everybody is when the Patriots win. It definitely makes you want to duplicate it in your sport.”
Sox manager John Farrell, who arrived at Fenway South on Monday, also had a bit of an epiphany watching the Patriots.
“I sent a text to a number of people. If that game doesn’t drive some inspiration or creative emotion, then you’re missing the boat. That game last night . . . Oh, my God. Unbelievable. We’re privileged to be in Boston. It’s incredible.”
The Sox and Patriots have plenty of connections.
Wide receiver Julian Edelman took batting practice at Fenway last season and several Sox players were on the sidelines before the AFC Championship game at Gillette Stadium on Jan. 22.
Retired Sox star David Ortiz, who knows Brady and Rob Gronkowski well, was so excited during the game on Sunday that he uploaded a brief video to social media that showed him screaming, “Let’s go, Pats.”
David Price found himself inspired, too.
“They won their championship. Now it’s our turn,” he said. “That was fun to watch as we start to get ready for our season.”
Steven Wright, who missed the final month of last season with a sore right shoulder, reported to camp and played catch on the field. He has yet to pitch off a mound but is throwing without any discomfort.
“My expectation is that I’ll be ready for the season,” Wright said. “I need to build up strength, but fortunately with a knuckleball it’s not velocity you need.”
Wright, an All-Star last season, will be the fourth or fifth starter if healthy.
Lefthanders Robbie Ross Jr. and Robby Scott arrived at Fenway South. New bench coach Gary DiSarcina is expected on Tuesday . . . Blake Swihart, who is coming back from ankle surgery, went through a lengthy workout that included batting practice and catching in the bullpen . . . About a dozen players were on the field with pitchers and catchers not officially reporting until next Monday.
Peter Abraham can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @PeteAbe.