Soon the Red Sox will have a new manager, a new face tasked with infusing leadership and a change of organizational culture. What will he say to the team during the transition? Let's face it, this isn't the Gettysburg Address.
"Welcome to the 2012 Boston Red Sox. Some of you were here last season and others are new faces. Some of you have played on World Series winners and others have never played a game in the majors. Some of you have been all-stars and others are fighting to keep a job.
But all of us must recognize that we are here to win baseball games, a task that requires not only ability, but sustained concentration, dedication, and sacrifice. I'm not going to pretend that last year never happened, but as far as the 2012 standings go, what happened in 2011 is history. We are responsible for what we do here and now, and you all start with a clean slate.
As I look around this room, I see a lot of talented players. But every manager in every clubhouse sees talent. What separates the champions from the others?
Playing good baseball over a long season isn't automatic. You need your head on straight; you know what I'm talking about. You have to be prepared physically and you have to be ready mentally to be on the field 162 games, playing against other guys who want to beat your brains in. We're not asking you to play baseball or think baseball twenty-four hours a day. But I'm telling you, when you come to the park, you're coming to work, to refine your craft and excel at the skills that got you here.
The coaching staff and front office isn't here to be cheerleaders and rah-rah guys. We're here to provide an environment where winning baseball games and caring about winning baseball games matters. We're not going to win 162 games, but we have to play hard every day and support each other with a common goal, to become champions again.
The twenty-five guys in uniform really matter. But if you think the 38,000 people in the stands don't, then you're wrong. You want respect? The best way to earn respect is to show respect, respect for playing the game the right way, the way you learned how to play from the time you picked up a glove, and a ball, and a bat...and haven't forgotten.
We're here to play baseball, not to make excuses for not running out ground balls, for missing signs, running into outs, for overthrowing cutoff men, or throwing to the wrong base. Physical mistakes are part of the game, but we're going to minimize mental mistakes by paying attention to fundamentals and thinking the game. Let's go to work."
After thinking about it, that's the theme for 2012 "LET'S GO TO WORK." It's a no-nonsense statement implying direction and purpose. If the players can embrace that and 'get their heads on straight', the fans can move on.