BROOKLINE, Mass. -- Within a couple weeks, the Red Sox will shift their operation 1,500 miles to the south and put their focus toward building a championship-caliber team. But Tuesday provided the opportunity for the organization to make a difference on a more personal level.Some 160 members of the organization
BROOKLINE, Mass. -- Within a couple weeks, the Red Sox will shift their operation 1,500 miles to the south and put their focus toward building a championship-caliber team. But Tuesday provided the opportunity for the organization to make a difference on a more personal level.
Some 160 members of the organization -- including Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez, president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski, general manager Mike Hazen, manager John Farrell and former captain Jason Varitek -- participated in community service projects in and around Boston.
The final events were the RBI baseball/softball clinics at four locations, including one at Dexter Southfield School in Brookline, where Martinez appeared to be having the most fun of everyone.
"I'm a regular Joe regardless of how many Hall of Fames [I'm in]," Martinez said. "I normally just mingle with the people, regardless. I just remain me. I don't know that the Hall of Fame stuff is ever going to change who I am."
Martinez cares deeply about the growth of the game he loves so much, and he knows the key is to increase interest in youngsters.
"Baseball is beautiful in every aspect," Martinez said. "If you look at it as an athlete, it trains you and makes you build a good body, a clean body. It keeps you away from other things. If you ask me, it was the best job ever that I got. Why not for them?
"It depends on how serious they take it and how bad they want it. I think it's a great opportunity for the kids to see people like us that have made it through baseball and to see us as role models and examples for them."
The community events coincided with the Red Sox having their organizational meetings, which brought scouts, executives and coaches throughout the organization to Boston this week.
"It's a lot of fun," said Dombrowski. "This is really the grass roots of the game. You have youngsters that are interested in playing the game and we're interested in helping to revive the game in the inner city. Our organization supports this and Major League Baseball also thinks it's very important."
Prior to the event, Dombrowski went up to a small group of kids and started up a conversation.
"We're able to intermingle with them to help the cause. It's important for our organization to participate in community involvement and see all the people that are here," said Dombrowski. "When I told the [audience] that we have people here from all over the world, we really do. We have organizational meetings so we have people from the Far East, from Latin America, from all over the United States.
"You look over there, and there's Jason Varitek and John Farrell, Mike Hazen. That's just the start of about 40 people we have here and others who have been involved in events all afternoon."
Earlier in the day, some Red Sox employees sorted clothing and donated items, while others painted a mural at a school near Fenway Park.
"It's great for us to be able to do this," said Dombrowski.
"I think it's important we all get together and let the community know that we support them, that we're here for them and that we care about them," Martinez said. "I think it's really important that we let them know, and our presence says it all."
Soon, the Red Sox will try to field a baseball team the community can be proud of. And the 2016 team may have no bigger fan than the man who was once its ace.
"I'm excited," said Martinez. "I'm very excited about the team, about the moves we made during the offseason and also looking forward to seeing the team perform together with better pitching and a better team overall. I think the Boston fans should have enough reasons to be excited."
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com.