When Clemens trotted out for wind sprints early Monday morning, Hobson joined him; their chat continued inside. "Butch and I had a pretty good talk," said Clemens afterward, noting to the media that his absence had been blown out of proportion. "Give me the ball, I do the job. You guys make it complicated."
His teammates had made it comic. A red carpet was laid from the door of the clubhouse to Clemens's locker, where a supply of sunflower seeds awaited, along with a sign reading REMEMBER THE GOLDEN RULE: WHOEVER HAS THE GOLD MAKES THE RULES. But not all the Red Sox thought Clemens's absence a laughing matter. "He brings attention on himself that's not needed," said Clark. "Maybe he had things to do back home. Well, so do I. I didn't want to leave my family either. Pitchers and catchers are supposed to be here when everyone else is."
Clemens won't be Hobson's only challenge. Controversy has followed Clark wherever he has played. Brunansky has said that if he's not in Hobson's starting lineup he would rather be traded. Green-well fought with Sox first baseman Mo Vaughn last August in Anaheim and is now blaming Morgan for not backing him; he also took a shot at former hitting coach Richie Hebner, who responded last week by saying in The Boston Globe, "These guys don't need a hitting coach, they need a shrink" and "I hope they've got some pacifiers around that clubhouse."
Of the Greenwell-Morgan episode, Pratt says, "That wouldn't happen with Butch. He'd be all over Greenwell. No one is going to push Butch around. He's going to cast a very loud shadow."
That shadow, noisy or not, will be able to prevail on the sunny fields of Florida. But the proving grounds of Fenway Park will test its durability. "I'm nervous in a lot of ways," Hobson says. "This is a big step for me. I want to be a great manager. But I'm not going to change what I've been doing. If I do change, I won't be managing anymore."