November 1, 2013

On Baseball: Life is good for Xander Bogaerts

By Kevin Thomas kthomas@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

BOSTON — Among the scenes from Wednesday’s celebration after the Boston Red Sox won the World Series was slender Xander Bogaerts slipping through the Red Sox clubhouse, which was drenched in champagne and beer. Bogaerts, 21, was laughing and obviously enjoying himself but, as he reminded us in previous celebrations, he does not drink.

Then Bogaerts broke into an even bigger smile. He was told that the Portland Sea Dogs are giving out a Xander Bogaerts bobblehead doll next season.

“Are you serious?” Bogaerts said, his eyes wide. “Can you get me one?”

Bogaerts was so excited about the bobblehead, it was a reminder of his fun spirit and appreciation for what has happened in his young life the past year.

“This is so unbelievable,” he said over and over. “Starting in Portland, then to be here and get a ring. Things I dreamed about and watched on TV.”

But here is a telling note: He asked if the bobblehead could be sent to him next season.

“I’ll be here or in Pawtucket.”

Bogaerts just finished playing in a World Series, starting at third base for the world champion Red Sox. He had five hits in the Series. Only David Ortiz and Jacoby Ellsbury had more.

Yet Bogaerts is taking nothing for granted. He could go back to Triple-A Pawtucket next year, though likely not.

But how refreshing that Bogaerts, who has such obvious gifts, is not resting on his past.

If he’s going to be in the majors next year, he’ll have to earn it. Is there any doubt he will?

BOGAERTS’ TEAMMATE in Portland in April, pitcher Brandon Workman, may have to wait another season for a bobblehead at Hadlock Field.

But no one was taking away his smile Wednesday night.

Workman became a more reliable reliever as the postseason went on, and appeared in Game 6 to pitch a 1-2-3 eighth inning on an economical nine pitches.

“Something I’ll never forget, going into that game,” Workman said. “It was so loud. So much energy in the stadium from the first pitch.”

Workman appeared in three games in the World Series, allowing three hits and no runs.

The Red Sox have continually said they view Workman long-term as a starter. But he may be in the bullpen next year with six starters under contract.

ARNIE BEYELER has been in pro baseball since 1986 as a minor league player and scout, then a coach and manager in the minors, including managing the Sea Dogs from 2007-10.

There were times Beyeler, 49, wondered if he would ever make it to the majors until he got the call this season to be Boston’s first-base coach.

Not only a major league gig but one that ended with a World Series title.

“Unfathomable,” Beyeler said. “To get up here was unbelievable enough. To get up here and watch all this all year long. You couldn’t have written it any better.”

Beyeler, drenched from the celebration, reminded that he also enjoyed bubbly last year when he managed Triple-A Pawtucket to the International League title.

True, but doesn’t major league champagne taste a little better?

Another change is his time off. He’s used to being done by mid-September. Now it’s November.

“We only get like two months and then we start all over again,” Beyeler said, not a hint of complaint in his voice.

“For now I’m just going to sit back and let all this soak in.”

ONE FINAL SCENE was Jacoby Ellsbury in the middle of the champagne spray, just like his rookie year in 2007.

This is expected to be his last year with Boston, depending on his free-agent contract demands.

In 2004 the Red Sox celebrated a title, then faced free agency with four players. They kept Jason Varitek while saying goodbye to Pedro Martinez, Derek Lowe and Orlando Cabrera.

This year the Red Sox have five free agents, counting injured reliever Joel Hanrahan. The others are Ellsbury, shortstop Stephen Drew, first baseman Mike Napoli and catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia.

Who stays?

Almost time to start thinking about 2014, but enjoy 2013 just a little more.

Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or:kthomas@pressherald.comTwitter: @ClearTheBases

 

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