BOSTON (CBS) — The Red Sox are off to a terrific start to this 2013 season on the field.
And, maybe even more importantly, they seem to be off to a great start off the field as well.
It began in the offseason, when Sox ownership and Ben Cherington brought in John Farrell to manage the team. I’ve written this before but to me, when the former Sox pitching coach was hired, it was like someone putting back in an electric plug that had been ripped out. That plug was in when Terry Francona led this organization to two World Series titles in eight years. However, it got pulled out when Bobby Valentine came in last season. The whole organization, from top to bottom, was in disarray.
Farrell has been a strong, confident leader. His work began in the offseason when he visited with his players to get them going in a positive direction. Farrell continued that building in spring training down in Fort Myers.
Cherington then brought in new players that could do many things. For one, they could still play the game at a high level. Two, they brought a positive attitude into the clubhouse, and three, they didn’t mind playing in a pressure-filled market like Boston.
These new players, along with those already in place, have come together in a relative short period of time.
And to me, there are three things that stand out to show a team that is bonding:
The first happened on Opening Day at Yankees Stadium in the ninth inning of a lopsided game the Sox were winning. Jacoby Ellsbury hit a ground ball to the second base hole that Robinson Cano knocked down. And on the play, Jonny Gomes never stopped running hard from second base and came all the way around to score, a great hustle play. And, it was wildly applauded in the Sox dugout. It was talked about to the media by the team as well. You could see the excitement in the players’ eyes when they recalled it. Ellsbury ran to the video room to high-five Gomes. A great baseball play recognized by the entire team. A solid way to start the season.
Next up was the way the Sox responded to the tragic bombings on Patriots’ Day in Boston. It is a day that all New Englanders love, a day to watch both elite and average runners run the greatest marathon in the world. And, also a day to watch the Red Sox play their traditional 11 a.m. game at Fenway Park. The players reacted with sadness and compassion to what had happened. They seemed to unite together in that clubhouse. They embraced the motto “Boston Strong.”
And my final example is one that makes you smile when you watch it: 38-year-old reliever Koji Uehara coming off the field after getting the final out of the eighth inning in Boston’s 6-3 win over Cleveland on Wednesday night. He ran for a few high fives as he came past the first base line, then went through a procession of them in the Sox dugout as players lined up … and then came back out onto the top step of the dugout and high-fived the remaining players that were coming in from the field. Just a great sight to see from the Japanese reliever. You can’t help but smile and get pumped up as you watch him. It has to have a positive mental impact on his teammates.
So where will this new attitude take the 2013 Red Sox? Who knows? However, it certainly is fun to watch. Refreshing.
It will be fun if it continues to bring more wins than losses all summer long.
Follow WBZ-TV’s Dan Roche on Twitter @RochieWBZ.