If you didn’t understand the whole Jonny Gomes thing when the Red Sox gave him $10 million this winter, here’s hoping you watched the ninth inning yesterday.

One second, Jacoby Ellsbury chops what looks like an RBI grounder to second base. The next, Gomes careens around third and doesn’t so much slide into home plate as assault it, splashing down like Superfly Snuka.

Taken purely as a baseball play, the run served a purpose, basically slamming the door on the New York Yankees and sending their fans sprinting to the exits in the Red Sox’ 8-2 victory on Opening Day. But what came immediately after Gomes touched home gave us our first glimpse into why he’s considered one of the most impactful clubhouse personalities in the game.

Gomes looked more pumped than Sid Bream in the 1992 postseason or Ken Griffey in the ’95 playoffs. He let out a Ric Flair-esque “Whoo!” that was practically audible from the pressbox, and entered the dugout to shouts and high fives from rabid teammates.

It was just one play representing one run in one game, but if you’re looking for a culture change, bam, there’s your culture change.

“That’s who he is as a player, getting after it, playing hard,” said right-hander John Lackey, who was one of the first to greet Gomes. “It’s fun to see, fun to watch, and it fires the boys up, for sure.”

Gomes was probably the only guy in the stadium thinking he’d score from second base when the grounder left Ellsbury’s bat. He broke from second on contact and when Gold Glover Robinson Cano bobbled the ball for a millisecond, Gomes tore home.

“It starts with the jump,” Gomes said. “Right there, bases loaded, you’ve got to go with the ball on the ground. I was probably at third when it got in his hand, and with him bobbling it, I didn’t hesitate to stop. Just kept it going.”