It wasn't as if the media hadn't talked to Alex Verdugo before.
There was that introductory press conference outside the Red Sox' clubhouse in Fort Myers which was highlighted by Verdugo's response to his a controversial past. And in those days following that get-together at JetBlue Park, the subject of the incident was the chief topic of conversation when Verdugo's name was brought up to the Sox' higher-ups.
The only other topic usually broached with Verdugo -- other than his love for ice-fishing in International Falls, Minn. -- was how it felt to be replacing Mookie Betts. The problem was that no answers during those interviews were going to sway a skeptical fan base, especially with no hard evidence that the outfielder was going to be a foundational player for the Red Sox.
But then came Friday night's press conference.
Verdugo was at the podium just prior to midnight because he had hit two home runs while robbing a ninth-inning home run. It wasn't difficult to tell the excitement that was plain to see on the field was still prevalent during the Zoom sit-down.