Texas Rangers slugger Mike Napoli is the sort of player that has a 'reputation'.
It's a good thing, mind you - he hits home runs, pumps up his teammates and has a penchant for bringing everyone together. He's not unlike Jonny Gomes, another powerful right-handed hitter known for his splits against left-handed pitching and accolades as a good 'clubhouse guy'.
He's only been with the Rangers for about a month, but he's already established the kind of rapport that inspires someone to buy American flag shorts for the entire team as a team-building exercise.
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As Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News explained in a new profile piece on Napoli, the colorful shorts thing originated in Boston in 2013, when Gomes and the Red Sox wore them in support of a young Boston fan with leukemia. Napoli began wearing them by himself wiht the Rangers, and when his teammates asked about his fashion decision he bought them all a pair.
Napoli is quoted by Grant as being complimentary of Gomes, though he isn't trying to copy his 'team leadership' tactics: "I'm not trying to be like Jonny. He has his way of doing things, and I have mine. But there are some similarities I think. He has a way of getting the best out of people."
Rangers manager Jeff Banister was also quick to laud Napoli, who definitely seems to have fit in well in Texas: "He's a relationship guy and loves to connect with everybody in the clubhouse," Banister added. "He brings that intensity and some camaraderie. It's real. ... You need a guy like that."
Said Banister to Grant on Napoli's impact: "He might be the human victory cigar."
(h/t Dallas morning News)