Arnie Beyeler, a 1982 GCHS graduate, has been named first base coach for the Sox after spending 26 years in the minor leagues as a player, coach and manager.
“It still hasn’t sunk in yet,” he said during a recent telephone interview. “When I heard, I was shocked. I was just kind of speechless. But I’m sure it will seem real once we get to spring training.”
Beyeler, 48, managed the organization’s Pawtucket team in the Triple-A level for the past two years. That club, known as the PawSox, won the 2012 Governors’ Cup under the former Red Devil’s control.
Although the Red Sox have a rich baseball tradition, the team has come upon hard times lately. Beyeler hopes he and other coaches can help get the Sox back on track.
“The bottom line is you can only do so much,” he said. “The players have to go out there and catch the ball or hit it.”
He added with a chuckle, “If we don’t turn it around we’ll all get fired.”
The Red Sox lost some good players last year, but Beyeler believes there are some excellent young players coming up.
“We definitely have a good pitching staff,” he said. “It all starts with pitching and defense. It should be fun. I’m looking forward to being with a good group of guys.”
Beyeler, who lives in Jacksonville, Fla., is still crazy about the sport he enjoyed in Moab as a teenager. He coached in a fall league in Phoenix last year and also has taken part in winter ball in Venezuela and the Dominican Republic in the past.
“The season is a grind,” he said, “but the game is fun. You gotta enjoy it to do what you do. I feel like I never worked a day in my life. I get to do what I enjoy – throwing batting practice, hitting fungoes. You have to enjoy it because we spend so much time together.”
Besides coaching first base, his duties with the Red Sox will include positioning the outfielders to provide the best defense. As a first base coach, he’ll be studying opposing pitchers’ pick-off moves to first base.
“You make sure the guys do the best they can on the bases,” Beyeler said. “You prep them as far as how many outs, the situation, what kind of moves the pitcher has, and what kind of arm the catcher has.”
Besides that, coaching at the major league level requires endless study of opponents' tendencies. He'll have to know where other teams' players usually hit the ball and how much power each batter has.
"I can pull up statistics of a hitter against a certain pitcher, on different counts, everything. It's almost crazy how much information is at your fingertips these days."
Beyeler acknowledges he always considered himself a minor league guy who never thought he'd have a shot at what's sometimes called "The Show."
Now he's there.
"I'm remembering back to Little League games, high school games, all the people back in Moab who touched my career," Beyeler said. "I'm thankful to them and my former teammates. And it's always nice to go back home -- it still is home."