I’ll be honest. I have been watching the early coverage from Spring Training at Fort Myers and I find it fascinating. Everyone from John Henry down to the bat boys are saying and doing the right thing. Trying to exorcise the ghosts of 2011 seems to be first and foremost for the Sox. New attitudes are the order of the day. It seems those singled out most often are Josh Beckett and John Lester. The two were there early and ready to work. They were also two of the men who were thought to be responsible for the beer drinking and chicken eating last season ion the club house.
Bobby Valentine stalks around the new facility, keeping a watchful eye over everyone and everything in his domain. It looks like he will not leave a stone unturned. Now that Terry Francona is gone, the “experts” are saying that Bobby V is just what this team needs. For years, though, Boston had a great desire for a “players’ manager”. Don Orsillo pointed out that Tito had NO rules at all, other than to be on time, and not to dress worse than he did on charter flights. I suspect that Valentine will have substantially more regulations. He will not risk his shot at redemption, believing the players will do what they are supposed to do. He will make certain they do the right thing. His first step in that direction was bannng beer and all alcohol from the Boston clubhouse. It will not be allowed on the final leg of charter flights either.
Everyone, at least publicly, is on board. Not that they have any choice. David Ortiz, now the longest-tenured Red Sox player says it is no big deal. “This ain’t a bar.” quipped Big Papi.
Maybe the most telling “Mea Culpa” was issued by team owner John Henry. Henry apologized to outfielder Carl Crawford for his earlier statements, saying he was never “on board” with the signing of the former Tampa star. The two met, and Crawford graciously accepted the apology. So far so good at JetBlue Park. Injuries seem to be healing. Arms seem to be lively. Bats are being swung with authority and power.
There seems to be a catharsis going on. Out with the old and in with the new. Players will fight for playing time and roster spots. Complacency will not be tolerated. No standing around while you’re supposed to be working. It;s a new era in Boston and there is definitely a new sheriff in town.