Monday March 29, 2010 | 04:48 AM

Many stories on Portland Sea Dogs (and former Dogs) focus on their quest to reach the majors. But that journey is not just for the players. The minor league managers and coaches are also hoping to get their chance.

Today's story in the Press Herald Sports looks at former Sea Dogs Ron Johnson finally getting his opportunity after 24 years in the minors, as the Red Sox first base coach.

Watching Johnson in spring training has been a blast. He can never walk through a clubhouse or on the field without someone stopping him to talk. Everyone wants to be around R.J., and not just because he is a one-man comedy show.

"We all know R.J. is R.J., but there is a lot of hard work there," current Sea Dogs manager Arnie Beyeler said. "He really is a baseball guy who is well respected around the game. All the players love him, the coaches and managers. He just does everything right."

One nice moment came the other day at the Blue Jays game. Johnson jogged out to the first-base coach's box and soon heard his name called from the Toronto dugout. He walked over and was shaking several hands, accepting their congratulations.

I'll check in later. And tonight, we'll be monitoring Josh Beckett's last spring training start.

Here's a picture from the press conference when Johnson was being introduced as the Sea Dogs manager in 2003

About this Blog

Kevin Thomas covers baseball and basketball for the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram. He wisely moved to Maine in 1994 after working for the St. Petersburg Times. He is married to Nancy and they have nine children.

Follow his thoughts on the Boston Red Sox and Portland Sea Dogs on Clearing the Bases

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