The tone is being set by new Red Sox manager John Farrell from the get go at Fenway South, JetBlue Park in Fort Myers, FL. If you read between the lines of what’s being said at Boston’s spring training complex it’s pretty clear what Farrell is getting at. And everyone in the clubhouse is catching the vibe. Things are different this year. Keep your trap shut and play baseball.
“More than anything, that first conversation, first talk is a way to set the tone, which I think was clear,” Farrell said. “But the thing we want to emphasize is that it’s a matter of what we do on the field and not what we’re talking about. We’re hopeful – and with every intent – that our actions speak certainly more volume than our words.”
Farrell’s remarks, coming on the heels of Jon Lester‘s pre-emptive whine fest on WEEI and later correction after Farrell’s talk, signals to the fans and indeed to players that Boston’s new skipper isn’t going to tolerate any rogue behavior that damages team unity and the goal of a cohesive winning attitude.
Lester’s about face came two days after his first interview on WEEI and one day after Farrell address to the team for the first time. Think the timing of the second interview had anything to do with Farrell’s remarks? Read on.
“Obviously, when you’re out there competing, you’re not really paying attention, you’re trying to compete, you’re trying to get outs,” Lester said. “So, they’re sometimes where somebody has to point it out to you and say, ‘Look, you look like a baby.’ I would rather somebody say that to me than pat me on the butt and try to make it seem like it’s OK. I would rather someone come up to me and say this is terrible, you need to change it. My dad has told me that since I was in fifth grade, when I started pitching. It’s always been a problem. It’s gotten better through the years and it’s something I can always improve on.”
Message delivered and received Mr. Farrell.
“Everything has a purpose,” said Farrell. “I don’t want to say there’s a sense of urgency but every day in spring training because of our current situation – new staff, a number of new players – we’ve got a lot of ground to cover.”
Again, Farrell’s remarks appear to be taking root with a number of Red Sox players, especially the new guys that want to help set the tone. Shane Victorino, Boston’s new right fielder who replaces the popular Cody Ross, said, “It’s exciting. I’ve been on a few teams. Just to see how the goals are set here and how everything is demanded to be ran. One of the first priorities over here is to be professional. Says a lot about the organization and the players inside here. So we do that, be professional, respect the game, put some numbers up, I think we’ll be alright.”
Red Sox new left fielder Jonny Gomes echoed Farrell’s few rules for the team: “Be professional.”
After a 2012 season in which the organization was anything but professional, Farrell is drawing the line in the sand right here, right now. Alfredo Aceves, have you been taking notes.
Don’t wanna wait til tomorrow,
Why put it off another day?
One more walk through problems,
Built up, and stand in our way ,ah
One step ahead, one step behind me
Now you gotta run to get even
Make future plans, don’t dream about yesterday, hey
C’mon turn, turn this thing around
Right now, hey
It’s your tomorrow
- Right Now, Van Halen