2024 Red Sox have unique series of motivational paths to pick from

Baltimore Orioles v Boston Red Sox
Baltimore Orioles v Boston Red Sox / Jaiden Tripi/GettyImages

Rafael Devers publicly jabbed the front office over their roster construction. Boston Red Sox skipper Alex Cora has entered the final year of his contract with no extension taking shape. Future Hall of Famer Mookie Betts is playing at an MVP level, manning shortstop and anchoring a franchise that just spent billions this offseason to improve their on-field product.

Contrarily, his former multi-billion dollar employer is being highly scrutinized by the fanbase and media for prioritizing slashing payroll over all else.

The public outcries about the 2024 Red Sox aren't as loud as they were two weeks ago, though. Pitchers are “buying in” to Breslow and Bailey’s philosophy when it comes to throwing their best stuff, even if that means throwing an ungodly amount of off-speed pitches.

The position players are extra aggressive and mindful on the base paths, a massive point of emphasis this year. Cora is managing the crap out of ball games, with double switches and mid-inning pitching and position changes ad nauseum! How many other managers have brought in an outfielder to form a five-man infield this year? 

The season just started, and the Red Sox's wins came against relatively easy competition, but how can Red Sox fans not enjoy this team? There’s newfound athleticism, some highlight reel defense, and homegrown players are showing out, including pitchers. Cora and his largely reassembled coaching staff are getting “buy-in” from the players at a rate that has far surpassed the attitude from the past two seasons.

On paper, it doesn’t make sense for the players to be so seemingly care-free when out on the field. The organization is undoubtedly heading in a new direction under new chief baseball officer Craig Breslow, and players and staff had to be anxious about their standing in the regime moving forward. Furthermore, the Red Sox are in a division with the Orioles, Yankees, Blue Jays, and Rays, whose major league (and in some cases, minor league) rosters are far more lauded.  

So where’s this enthusiasm and buy-in coming from?

2024 Red Sox have unique series of motivational paths to pick from

They're playing for something bigger than themselves  

The players have a myriad of motivations that are anything but customary. First and foremost, the deaths of Larry Lucchino and Tim Wakefield give them to play for more than just themselves. The best way to honor deceased legends of a tight-knit community is to win as many games as possible.

The greatest example of this is the 2013 Red Sox playing for their city, rallying the organization to exceed every expectation to bring the city of Boston together. Losing Lucchino and Wakefield deeply hurt the fanbase, and the players know Boston wants to bask in the glow of a winning ballclub rather than grieving on-field and off-field losses.

The Netflix bump

Don't discount the power of a Netflix doc! The soon-to-be internationally streamed sports documentary series is a motivator for players. Whether it’s taking extra reps, being extra loquacious during workouts, wearing sleeveless shirts during BP, or being overly expressive in the dugout, the Red Sox want to look good in front of the camera guy.

The players, coaches, and staff members are for sure holding themselves more accountable, knowing that their actions will be parsed over by an international audience next year, guaranteed.

It’s human nature to perform a little extra in front of the cameras, to augment oneself when people will see every move. The Netflix documentary will cause fans, media and members of the Red Sox organization to either critique or applaud Sox players in a whole new fashion once Netflix's footage airs. Public perception will be at an all-time high for all parties involved, and they'll want to make themselves look good! Personality, character, and leadership matter, it's discussed constantly when there are considerations into elevating a person's standing in MLB.

Fighting for their careers

This team is full of life. Whether it’s the young guys or the vets, the Red Sox get very excited over each other’s accomplishments. There are hugs, bear claws, dugout dances, and fist pumps galore!

But a perpetual last-place team doesn’t exactly elicit positive perception around the game or inspire cohesion in the locker room. The Red Sox players need to show that they can win games if they want that next contract. The Red Sox manager needs to turn things around so he can secure a lucrative deal either with this organization or another. Players, managers and coaches are always fighting for their big-league life, and this team is showing that their fight, urgency, and talent is not lacking. 

Cora was openly mocked by many Red Sox fans over his "good vibes" quote, but he was right. The 2024 Red Sox have immaculate vibes in large part due to the buy-in of the players to what the coaches and front office are preaching.

More Red Sox reads: