When a tired Boston Red Sox team was on the West Coast in August, Jake Peavy was walking to the ballpark in San Francisco when something caught his eye.
Inside a smoke shop was a 3-foot wooden Indian.
The pitcher initially kept walking, but soon stopped.
"My heritage is American Indian," Peavy said Monday. "I kind of looked back and he was still looking at me. I did a U-turn and I went in and asked how much he cost. We did some negotiating and I carried him on to the ballpark."
Several key Red Sox were injured at the time, and Peavy made up an elaborate story about how the statue's spirit had healing powers.
Even though Boston lost to the Giants that day, things soon turned around and the "Chief" became a clubhouse fixture both home and away.
"He's holding some cigars in his hand," Peavy said. "When we do hopefully reach our goal, we're going to smoke those cigars."
And just like several Red Sox players, Peavy said, "Chief" also now has a beard.
POSTSEASON PUIG: Yasiel Puig is finding out for the first time just how exacting the playoffs can be.
The Los Angeles Dodgers rookie was 6 for 13 with two RBIs and four runs scored going into Game 4 of the National League division series Monday night against Atlanta.
"There is a lot more focus and more intensity on every little detail," Puig said through a translator. "I noticed that each pitcher is focusing more on each pitch that he throws. Everyone's trying to give their all in every single play."
The 22-year-old Cuban outfielder was hitting .462 in the postseason following his breakout performance after getting called up from the minors in early June. Puig credited his teammates for helping him mature over the last few months.
"I give a lot of thanks to them for helping me concentrate and focus on the details I need to focus on to make sure I'm always giving it my best," he said.
ZIM'S PLAYOFF ZEN: Tampa Bay senior adviser Don Zimmer is amazed that the low-budget Rays are in the playoffs for the fourth time in six years.
"It's some organization, I'll tell you that," said Zimmer, who is completing his 65th year in baseball and is part of his 19th postseason team.
Zimmer joined the Rays in 2004 after a successful run from 1996-2003 as the bench coach for New York Yankees manager Joe Torre, a stretch that included four World Series titles.