According to Bogar – who has experience organizing spring training, having run Tampa Bay’s camp in 2008 – there will be one noticeable difference when comparing this camp to others before it – less standing around. The strategy is born somewhat from Valentine’s experience in Japan, where spring training offers very little downtime. While the Red Sox spring training sessions don’t figure to run more than a half-hour longer than normal (“It's not a huge chunk of extra time we're out there, there's just a lot more going on in that chunk of time we're using,” Bogar said), the plan is to maximize the time on the fields by limiting inactivity.
“Bobby had told me over there they worked for a long time and did a lot of things and over here they don't work as long as they do there. But what we're trying to implement this year is that they're all going to be doing some type of baseball activity at all times during practice, so there's not a lot of standing around. There's not a lot of dead time,” Bogar explained. “There's a lot of different activity during the actual workout this year.
“I think what's going to jump out to them is all the skill work and the detail work that is being worked on constantly on all six fields down here. You're going to have your live BP, but you're also going to have guys working on pickoff plays, baserunning, reading balls off the bat, you're going to have guys standing in tracking pitches, and doing all kind of things. You're not going to see the normal stand around the cage, watch batting practice and stand in the outfield and shag. Instead of shagging players are going to be doing baseball activity which will benefit them in the long run.”
“To be honest, I had that exact same question for Bobby when we first sat down and started talking about it. He said there wasn't going to be one emphasis. The emphasis is to play the game correctly in all areas,” Bogar said. “He doesn't want one thing more important than anything else. He wants everything to be emphasized equally and with the same importance. So when you talk about pitchers' fielding and their PFP, and you talk about cut-offs and relays and you talk about infield play, bunt plays, catchers' throwing … there's ton of areas that need to be worked on and improved and Bobby wants it to be emphasized exactly the same. There's not one area. If it's one area, it's the game of baseball.”
Bogar is also using his experience from ’08 with Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon to alter the Red Sox’ approach this time around.
“One of the things I really liked when I was over with Joe is the fact when pitchers came into the bullpen in the non-throwing days they had a lot a chance to meet with the catchers and go over the intricacies between pitchers and catchers and get that relationship going. I brought that up to Bobby and he really liked that a lot, so we're going to be implementing that this year,” he said. “It's part of their workout. It's part of their rotation. “
There will be no physical conditioning test prior to the initial official workout, instead measuring fitness levels throughout various stages of the camp.
Maybe this can snap us out of the horrifying starts we've been having recently. It'll be interesting to see if playing time unfolds differently, I imagine it would somewhat.