If you’re looking for a leader in the Red Sox clubhouse, most young players will point you towards Xander Bogaerts’ locker.
Armed with a contract extension that’s set to keep him in Boston through 2026, Bogaerts is a two-time World Series champion, multilingual, and still just 26 years old. The shortstop received plenty of guidance when he was called up at 19, and is determined to pay that mentorship forward.
“I think that whole team in ‘13 pretty much (molded me),” Bogaerts said. “It had so many guys. I mean, (expletive), we had a lot of veteran guys on that team. A lot. And I think that’s stuff you take in as a young kid, and one day you’re in that type of (veteran) position. You’ll remember that stuff and apply it to your game. Bring that type of attitude to the table.”
Asked who he wants to model his own leadership after, Bogaerts picked a David, but one you may not have guessed.
“I always liked David Ross,” Bogaerts told the Eagle-Tribune. “I can see him being a manager one day. I’ve told him that before. One day he’ll probably be one. He has that type of attitude. Sometimes he can be a little emotional, show a lot of emotion, but I guess that’s what happens whenever you play baseball. You’ve gotta have a little fire in you. He does it the right way.
“I think (bench coach Ron) Roenicke also,” he continued. “That’s a coaching view but he comes up to you and he kind of lets you know what he thought you could have differently in his mind. ‘Why did you do this?’ That’s little stuff that you can ask younger guys whenever you see them doing something. Like, ‘What was your thought on doing it this way as opposed to that way?’ Everyone has a different opinion, but just to see how their mind is processing.”
Is there a specific time Bogaerts remembers Ross giving him some tough love as a rookie?
“I won’t say anything, but, yeah, there were some times,” he chuckled. “As I said, all meaning in a good way and looking out for you as a young kid. He had a little point to it, but he does it the right way.”
Seemingly always upbeat, it may be a challenge for Bogaerts to ream a teammate out when the time comes.
“Ahhhhh, it might be,” Bogaerts said. “But sometimes you’ve gotta do what you’ve gotta do. I think in the end people will understand that you’re not doing it because you’re picking on them or you want to wish them wrong or anything like that. I think you’re doing it because stuff is meant to be done a certain way. The right way. The proper way. And you’re looking out for them.
“I think the guys have been pretty solid,” he added. “I don’t think we’ve had anything uncharacteristic happen. I think it’s been pretty cool so far.”
Though he’s only been in the majors for seven seasons, Bogaerts believes leadership is looser now than when he was a rookie.
“I’d say when I came up and now it’s a lot different,” he explained. “I could never go on the second bus. Always had to go on the first. It wouldn’t be good if you showed up after the veterans. Stuff like that. It was so different. Going to the field you had to wear collared shirts. Now it’s a little different. I think the game has changed a little bit. Now it’s a little more loose.”
How much of that comes from Alex Cora?
“It definitely comes from him,” Bogaerts replied. “Like the way we travel. With John (Farrell) we had to go with suits. With him it’s kind of relaxed... Yeah, I think that’s definitely a difference between those two. But some stuff like running the bases hard and playing the game the right way and doing the little stuff that makes us win games, I think that’s stuff that’s still the same.
“Treat everyone with respect. Stuff that you hear over and over again, but sometimes you can see it getting a little out of hand. But it’s been good so far.”
Chris Mason is a Red Sox beat writer for the Gloucester Daily Times and CNHI Sports Boston. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, and follow him on Twitter at @ByChrisMason