Hello, Erik. Red here.

Since your move to Boston was announced, you’ve no doubt heard that playing here can be a grueling experience. That even the toughest of athletes can wilt like a plucked daisy under the intense scrutiny of the fans. That the weak-minded and indifferent will be weeded out and tormented within an inch of their lives.

Well, that’s the media’s side of the story. I’m here to tell you… it’s much, much worse.

You’ll find out tonight, when you take the hill for your debut in the Red Sox laundry.

First, I hope you brought a shit-ton of number two pencils from Seattle. Because before you’re even allowed to set foot inside the bullpen for warm-ups, there’s an extensive, mandatory questionnaire you’ll be forced to complete. Although it mostly concerns Red Sox trivia, there may (or may not, heh) be a few out-of-left field questions pertaining to “The Jeffersons.” The only advice I can offer is, when in doubt, respond with, “The episode in which George makes fun of white people.”

Shortly after that, you’ll be announced on the loudspeaker as tonight’s starting pitcher. You’ll likely hear a lot of cheers, but the media asked me to remind you that these will quickly become murderous boos if you don’t set the Indians down 1-2-3 in the first.

Next, there’s the walk to the mound. Unbeknownst to you, several pre-selected fans along the first and third base lines, as well as a few VIPs in the suites, will be critiquing your gait. Do you lumber out to the mound, like a convict about to take his last meal? Do you have an overly eager, Dick-Van-Dyke-in-Mary-Poppins spring to your step? Are you too confident, tearing to the mound like a sailor on shore leave racing toward Mel’s Diner and Handjob Hut? Your body language in those first critical seconds will be dissected on live TV, so make it good. And remember that points are automatically deducted for looking “Slocumb-ish.”

Throughout the game, failure to throw strikes and keep opposing batters off base will be met with swift punishment. This may include projectiles flung at you from the “poisonous darts” section of the third base boxes or an attack by the Fenway Robot Tiger, which John Henry himself controls (WITH HIS MIND!) from his seat by the dugout. In addition to this, your family will be bound and gagged and held at bazooka-point in an East Boston warehouse, their fates dependant on your performance. I suggest you bring your “A” game.

Please understand, also, that as much as we like to persecute those who run afoul of our expectations, we are quick to reward those who come up big in their Boston debut. A dazzling array of complimentary snack cakes and some well-oiled sorority girls from Boston University will await you in the clubhouse “Winner’s Circle.”

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. As the media has explained, this is a merciless town. We chew ‘em up and spit ‘em out. And if we don’t like the cut of your jib – whatever the hell that means – we can make life very, very difficult for you during your three month stay.

So you’ve been warned. Now go out there tonight and pitch your balls off. And win. And nobody has to get hurt.

Oh and if at any point during your Boston tenure you get approached by a guy named “Leskanic” who asks you to co-sign an auto loan, just walk away. Trust me.