I went to college at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, a place where Tar Heels basketball fans dominate the local sports scene, but they pale in comparison to Red Sox Nation. I don't think there's a city anywhere where fans support a team as well as the Red Sox.
Playing in Boston has been an eye-opening experience in that respect. I had played my whole career in Kansas City prior to joining Boston. K.C. is a football-town first, while, despite the Patriots' great success, baseball still rules Boston.
I say that for a number of reasons, foremost being the fan base in Boston and throughout New England. Then you factor in the Red Sox long history and the fact that we play at Fenway Park -- the game's most nostalgic stadium. But I think the biggest difference from a player's standpoint is that the team and the fans expect you to win every game.
When I first heard the news in 2006 that I was joining the Red Sox, I was extremely excited. It was great to know that I was going to a place where the games were suddenly meaningful. Prior to coming to Boston, I had never played for a club in a city that basically revolves around the ballclub.
When you play in an intense baseball city like Boston, I think the key is to just be yourself. That is the best advice that I can give someone who is coming here because that is the approach I take out there every night.
After spending parts of three seasons with the Royals, Kyle Snyder joined the Red Sox in the latter half of the '06 season. At 6-foot-8 -- the tallest player on the club -- Snyder appeared in 46 games for Boston in 2007, posting a 3.81 ERA over 54 1/3 innings.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.