This week there will be two Outside the Box articles, I will discuss an unappreciated player in the second article later this week, but today I would like to talk about a new Front Office position that could benefit the Red Sox.
There are certain players who drive a fanbase crazy. Sometimes it isn't their fault (re, Ellsbury) sometimes it is (re, Manny) but it will happen, and it can affect both on the field performance, and what happens off the field. Boston has had it's fair share of player problems, signing such players as Carl Everett, Manny Ramirez, and Jonathan Papelbon whose personalities have incensed Boston's fanbase and likely caused the front office some of its own headaches.
Dayton Moore is, quite frankly, a bad General Manager, but, by all accounts he is a good person and he is dedicated to making the Royals in his moral image. He has developed what is arguably the best farm system in the majors, and the majority of players that he signed for the Royals can be classified as "good people," they may not be the best players in baseball, but they are generally likeable, and in general do not embarrass the organization off the field. However, if the Royals continue to have disappointing seasons, Moore may not be employed in Kansas City for much longer.
Boston is a large media market, the opportunity for players to make fools of themselves comes up more often in Boston than it does in most other markets in baseball. Boston fans have seen this most recently with Manny Ramirez and Jonathan Papelbon. Because Boston has such a presence in the national media, the actions of players in Boston leave an impression on fans of baseball and on people who do not follow the sport.
As Boston fans, I'm sure we are all aware that the Red Sox, and their fans, are not exactly beloved by the rest of the baseball community. Part of this is jealousy, Boston is a very well-run organization, and since John Henry and friends took over the organization they have had more success than any other team in baseball. Part of this hate also comes from our less-than-respectful colleagues, there are so-called "fans" out there who ride on Boston's success, they did not follow baseball during Boston's Dark Ages, and they have developed a sense of entitlement that frankly disgusts those of us who were around during the third-longest dry spell in baseball history. Fans of other teams cannot stand these fans, and they label the rest of Red Sox Nation along with them.
One other major contributor to this hatred comes from the visibility of the players. Players like Dustin Pedroia have a confidence that fans of other teams perceive as arrogance. Other players, like Jonathan Papelbon, are simply arrogant. Normally, this wouldn't be a bad thing, there are confident and arrogant players all over baseball, but they don't get the media attention that players in Boston do. If he hadn't thrown a no-hitter, and then had his team win the World Series, nobody would know who Jonathan Sanchez is, his arrogant statements in the NL West barely make a blip on ESPN. In the AL East, that blip is made into a mountain, that moutain is blown out of proportion, and a simple statement like "I would like to close the All Star Game" gets Mrs. Papelbon's life threatened in New York.
It's unfortunate that Boston has had to become the ambassadors of baseball, but because they have been forced into that position, the team needs to put on it's best face. Boston should hire Dayton Moore, or someone like him to become the "Director of Player Personalities" it would be this person's responsibility to make sure that the front office assembles a team that doesn't embarrass the owners or the organization. This person would need to find talent, but they would also need to advise the GM on the player's behavior. Quite simply, this person would hold office to help Theo assemble a team of Tim Wakefields and David Ortizes, of Jon Lesters and JD Drews. Because everything that happens in Boston happens under a magnifying glass, it would be this person's responsibility to make sure that the Red Sox are a team of players that fans can look up to and appreciate. It would be their responsibility to keep the Carl Everetts and Jonathan Papelbons in check, to keep the reputation of the Red Sox clean and sparkly. Dayton Moore has done a phenomenal job of assembling players with good reputations, minus one or two oddballs (Jose Guillen)