At long last Boston’s winter of our discontent is over. The Red Sox are back on the field in Fort Myers with a new field general, a new coaching staff, a lot of new players and it appears a new credo – be professional. Toward that end, who’s doing it and who isn’t.
John Farrell, the new man at the top, is most definitely leading the doing it gang. He coined the “be professional” phrase on day one and is living the values and setting the tone. He’s been no nonsense, direct and smooth even when managing through a couple of early challenges.
Special Assistant Pedro Martinez, by diving headlong into some of Boston’s most challenging pitching situations, is definitely doing it. He called out Felix Doubront‘s off-season conditioning while reportedly delivering the message in a cool way. He’s been working with Daniel Bard to rehabilitate a guy who could become a key piece to Boston’s back-end pitching success, all the while doing it with typical Pedro style and smile.
After retiring last year, Special Assistant Jason Varitek showed up at training camp to work with catchers. By definition, he is already doing it.
Pitching coach Juan Nieves is doing it. When Alfredo Aceves decided he was going to throw meatballs during live game simulated batting practice the other day, it took Nieves all of two pitches to address Aceves in Spanish when he didn’t like what he saw.
The rest of the team is doing it by sticking to talking about baseball and only when asked. It appears that a collective unity may already be taking root. Many pitchers, catchers and regulars arrived at training camp early. With few exceptions, the start of the spring camp has been a tidy and businesslike affair.
Alfredo Aceves, quickly becoming the poster child for inscrutable eccentricity – that’s being kind – has in one spring training appearance stirred up 2012 feelings that fans simply don’t want to go through again. His apparent defiance of Nieves when asked to throw harder, an episode that was capped by Farrell asking him if he was injured, is a just plain dumb move. If this continues, Aceves may be the one finding himself screwed.
Felix Doubront, it appears through benign neglect of his body in the offseason, arrived at Spring Training out of shape and on day two had to stop his routine due to shoulder soreness. This kid has to learn that there is no surer ticket to the minors and becoming a baseball footnote than his current level of preparation. Baseball, like all professional sports, has become a year-round job. The sooner Doubront understands this the better.
Bryce Brentz shot himself in the leg cleaning his gun. While not an overt act of on field screwiness by one of Boston’s top prospects, do I really need to say more about this news item and what it means to Brentz given Boston’s potential outfield needs in the coming season.
When someone’s got a groove like this
You know, you know, no!
I need to grit, gotta grit
Gonna eat, gotta eat
Need to grit, gotta grit, no breath
You know, brothers
I’m gettin’ ready to wave y’all in
- Doing It To Death, James Brown