The media perceived the Boston Red Sox to lack leadership in the clubhouse last year. Who do the Red Sox turn to for leadership this year?
Last year, we all perceived that there was a leadership issue. Something just didn’t quite feel right about the Red Sox; Mookie Betts and Xander Bogaerts all but confirmed that in their comments to the media a couple of weeks back. They said there was tension. They could have been a little more loose. They could have handled things differently last year.
Who’s going to step forward as the leader for this version of the Red Sox?
The players have told us who is a leader in the clubhouse. It was David Price, it was Dustin Pedroia (at least, he anointed himself as the leader with some pointed comments to the media). Did that really work as well as it could have?
I don’t think so.
The Red Sox need to look to some different guys if they want to succeed in 2018 and leave the stench that seems to have been following this team for the past couple of years.
I was doing my research into this topic, and I found something interesting that Dustin Pedroia said to Jason Mastrodonato. Pedroia talked about the leadership last year, and how toward the end of the year he saw the leadership in Bogaerts come out when Bogaerts would make comments to him. He mentioned some old teams, like the 2013 team and the 2007 team and how they had Varitek and David Ortiz. He also stated that it is not just one leader, the entire team needs to step up, as those teams in 2013 and 2007 did with the cast of clubhouse leaders that existed. Pedroia wants everyone to be more vocal this year, especially Betts, Bogaerts and Jackie Bradley.
I think there is a couple of guys the Red Sox need to look to, and it’s mostly their comments during spring training interviews that make them so important with this team trying to avoid the negativity this year.
Rick Porcello: He has had an up and down career for the Red Sox. Even with all of that, he said all of the right things in an interview with Rob Braford of WEEI. He mentioned that it’s been a pleasure for him to play in Boston, and even had some comments on what it’s like:
“Yeah, there are tough times if you’re not playing well. You’re going to hear about it. But what’s wrong with that? Who doesn’t want to hear about it? Because when you are playing well, it feels like you’ve got the entire world behind you, and that’s all you can ask for as a player. That’s fair”
In regards to the media and the negativity in Boston, the rest of the team could learn a thing or two from those kinds of comments. It might be a pretty bad place to play when things are going rough, but when you’re on your game, Fenway Park and all of the fans that fill the stadium let you know it and they cheer you for it.
Chris Sale: The ace is adopting a new regimen that will hopefully keep him fresh for the stretch run and into a deep playoff run for the Red Sox this year. His comments on winning were something the rest of the team should listen to:
“We haven’t said one time, ‘September or October.’ Every time we use only November. That’s the goal. That’s the start, middle and end. We’re not playing for the next [start]. We’re playing for the whole thing. I think for me, personally, I like where we’re heading with that.”
Sale wants to be ready for October this time around. He has a no excuses attitude, and does his work while not throwing anyone but himself under the bus, and that’s important in a leader.
Mookie Betts: I’ll skip his comments about last year, because if you’ve been paying attention at all, it’s clear that there was some tension going on and it led to guys pressing too much, and Betts was one of them. He said to the media that he “made it harder to deal with by trying to do too much instead of just trying to be myself, taking my walk or waiting for a good slider to hit. They executed some, and, when they didn’t, I didn’t execute.”
He laid the blame on himself for his under performance last year. He didn’t blame Farrell or the tension in the clubhouse, when he easily could have. I’m sure it played into it, but he just flat out said he didn’t execute, and that’s important in a leader. They need to hold themselves accountable for their own performances and not blame it on anyone else.
Look, we might see a few different guys emerge as leaders, and as Pedroia said, on his winning teams there were a lot of guys to look to as leaders. I think it’s important for Sale, Betts and Porcello to lead this team with their comments. Show the team that they can take ownership and be accountable for poor performance and move onto the next performance and do better.
If Sale can say he can improve upon last year, then all of these players can, and they’re all going to have to if they want to win it all in 2018.