GOOD FORTUNE SMILES ON RJ
We all need passion in our lives. Whether it is personally, professionally or even with a hobby. PawSox manager Ron Johnson is blessed with a fire in all three departmrnts. He adores his family. Spend five minutes with him (or in my case, 5 years) and you will hear a man who is a loyal husband, and a loving father. His children are perhaps the most important thing in his life. He lights up like a Christmas Tree when he talks about his younger daughters Bridget and Cheyenne and their horse riding exploits. When the topic is his son Chris, a third baseman at the Triple A level with the Astros, he loses all objectivity and becomes a proud papa, like any of us would. Christian is his stepson, but you’d never know it. “Bubby” as he calls him is a great young man. His wife Daphne is the love of his life. Unlike a lot of guys, RJ isn’t afraid to tell her he loves her, even when there are others around. He sets a great example. In his professional life, he bleeds the Red Sox colors. He is fiercely loyal to the organization and he really appreciates his job. He likes to joke that he is in the “eighteenth year of a five year plan”, meaning it is taking a lot longer than he originally expected to make the Major Leagues as a skipper. That being said, I hope he does attain his dream someday, but right now, he is the PERFECT man for the job in Pawtucket. He is so adept at handling the multiple personalities, all the different situations and countless scenarios he faces on a daily basis. He does it all with an unending smile on his face and a charm that is very endearing. I am fortunate that he classifies me as a friend and an “insider” when it comes to his ballclub. I think our mutual respect has been the foundation for the friendship we have forged. Even his hobby, horses, is something he absolutely loves. RJ grew up in California, played baseball and managed all around the country and before moving to Tennessee a couple of years ago, lived in Orlando. He has always been a self-proclaimed “redneck”. I met a neighbor of his recently. A good ole boy named Rodney Lockhart. Rodney, who listens to our broadcasts on the internet had no idea what his new neighbor did for months. “Heck, I thought RJ was rich, he just rode his horses around his ranch with his girls. I never saw him work.” Lockhart was amazed when he found out what RJ did for a living. It explained his ability to spend the offseason pursuing two of his three passions, his family and his horses. The horse “thing” kind of carries over to the baseball season. RJ is entrusted with 24 thoroughbreds at a time- The PawSox. These “stallions” need to be tamed and raised and RJ does an incredible job. Like any good stable man, he knows when to crack the whip and when to let up on the reins. As his team endures a season-long offensive drought, he recently “threw a nutty” in the clubhouse after a game. He told the guys that the “clock was ticking” meaning that if they didn’t start to hit, their would be consequences. That earned him the nickname “Flavor Flav”- Flav is the rapper who wears an oversized clock around his neck to remind people of just how precious time is. He later told the guys that he recognized that they were “pressing” and that doesn’t help. His message was simple. “Don’t think, just get up there and hit. If you can’t do that.” he continued, “just swing hard and you might run into something.” Of course he takes it seriously, but at times, you have to let the colts trot more slowly and at other times, you’ve got to get them to gallop. RJ’s buddy Rodney was right in one respect. He is a rich man. You don’t always measure fortune in terms of dollars.