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Smoltz: “This is a great place”

01.12.09 at 7:34 pm ET

A day before being introduced as one of the Boston Red Sox newest pitchers, John Smoltz received his first standing ovation in Beantown. The TD BankNorth Garden rocked as Smoltz was announced during the Boston Celtics-Toronto Raptors game.

“Somebody told me they’ve got great sports teams here,” Smoltz told “Obviously I’m being funny but it’s a great opportunity for me. I’m looking forward to it because this is, this is a great place. The fans are unbelievable.”

Smoltz, who later told an excited crowd he will be in the Red Sox starting rotation, is eagerly anticipating Wednesday. After spending the first 20 years of his career with the Atlanta Braves, it will be his first introductory press conference.

“I’ve never done it before so I’m sure I won’t say all the right things,” he admitted. “But I’m going to be excited to be here.”

If the reaction of the Garden crowd is any indication of how Smoltz will be received in Boston, his first game at Fenway Park is something for him to look forward to.

“They just love this city and they love their teams,” he said. “It’s kind of hard to not enjoy that.”

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