PAWTUCKET – There really is something to managing the Pawtucket Red Sox.
Taking a page out of the playbook that treated predecessors Ron Johnson and Torey Lovullo quite well, Tuesday saw Arnie Beyeler parlay his successful two-year run as Pawtucket’s skipper into a big-league coaching gig. More good news as Beyeler will jump from Pawtucket to Boston, where the 48-year-old will serve as the first-base coach on new manager John Farrell’s staff.
The news materialized two days after Beyeler sat down for a face-to-face interview with Farrell in Boston. Beyeler main duties will consist with working with the outfielders and shoring up the club’s baserunning skills.
“We get to tell guys all the time that they’re going to the big leagues, and (Farrell) told me (Tuesday) that I’m going to the big leagues. Now I know what those guys felt like when I told them; I had never experienced that before,” was just part of the outpouring of emotion Beyeler allowed to escape upon reached Tuesday night. “It was really a rush and I didn’t know what to say. When John offered me the job, I was like ‘Really?’”
Red Sox farm director Ben Crockett put the news regarding Beyeler in proper perspective, saying, “He really deserves this opportunity. Obviously the PawSox have had a lot of success over the couple of years under Arnie’s guidance. He’s done a nice job managing guys with different playing experiences – veteran types who have big-league experience and younger guys getting their feet wet in Triple A for the first time.”
Beyeler will not have to be introduced to several of his future co-workers. His minor-league playing career overlapped with Lovullo’s, the man who preceded him as PawSox manager and was hired by Farrell to become Boston’s bench coach (Lovullo and Beyeler were on the same Fayetteville (N.C.) ball club in 1987, a Single-A affiliate of the Detroit Tigers).
There’s the prior working relationship Beyeler has with bullpen catcher Gary Tuck, which stretches back to when both were employed by the New York Yankees in late 90s. Beyeler joined the Yankees just when another recent Red Sox hire, third base coach Brian Butterfield, departed the organization. It was yet another familiar name that made Beyeler all the more eager to join the group Farrell was assembling.
“We spend so much time around each other as coaches and players that you get the opportunity to work with great people that you actually get along with and respect,” said Beyeler. “That’s icing on the cake and I felt that way during the interview. It was like ‘What a great fit this would be.’ I like all these guys and I want to work with them.
“It was nice that they brought me up for the interview,” added Beyeler, who makes his offseason home in Florida. “I interviewed for a similar job several years ago several years ago with (former New York Mets manager) Willie Randolph, but you never know. Anytime you’re a career minor-league guy and you’re going up against guys that have big-league experience, that’s the industry.
“I told John when I left that I wanted him to think that he wanted me on his staff when I walked out the room,” Beyeler delved further. “Either way, I told him that I would see him in spring training and either I’ll come north with you or I won’t.”
The 2013 season will mark Beyeler's first on a big-league staff but his 10th in the Red Sox organization. Prior to his promotion to Pawtucket, he spent 2007-10 managing Double-A Portland. He also served as an A-ball manager in the Sox system from 2000-02. All told, he’s spent 26 years in the game, first as a player who carved out a six-year playing career in the minors before moving on to become a scout and later a minor-league coach who’s moved up the chain of command.
Beyeler leaves the PawSox with a set-in-stone legacy. This past year saw him work wonders with an ever-changing roster on his way to piloting the franchise to its first Governors’ Cup title since 1984. In two seasons that saw him lead Pawtucket to the postseason each time, Beyeler compiled a 160-126 mark, good for a .559 winning percentage.
“Everyone told me that if you can handle Triple A, you can handle big-league players,” said Beyeler. “The experiences I got in Pawtucket … the front office is phenomenal in the way they do their business. The whole persona of that place allows everything to work there.”
Naturally, Beyeler was bombarded with congratulatory messages, the list of well wishers including Will Middlebrooks, Scott Atchison, Jose Iglesias and Ryan Kalish.
“When it’s all said and done, those are the things that really hit home and allow us to do what we do,” said Beyeler. “Those guys played a part in me getting this opportunity by giving me support because without them, this probably doesn’t happen.”
This marks the third time in four offseasons that Red Sox are tasked with finding the right person to manage their Triple-A post.
“I don’t think we have a specific timetable on it. We want to do our due diligence and make sure we make the right decision,” stated Crockett. “From our standpoint, it’s certainly worth thinking about right now, but there won’t be (news regarding a successor) right away.”