PawSox’ busy clubhouse hinges on Goodreau
PAWTUCKET, R.I. — Outside the Pawtucket Red Sox’ clubhouse door is a faint stain stomped into the carpet. It’s something you’d expect to see in a high-traffic area, but to clubhouse manager Carl Goodreau the imperfection stands out like an ink blotch on white pants.
While giving a tour of the clubhouse Thursday, Goodreau pointed out the stain and confessed not scrubbing the spot likely would interrupt his sleep that night. But life is so busy around McCoy Stadium these days that a small stain can slide.
Two cellphones are pinned to Goodreau’s hip: One he calls his wife’s hotline and the other is the PawSox hotline, which he says has been ringing 24/7 the past few weeks. When Goodreau gets a call, it is usually to inform him a new player is coming in or a current player is on his way out. Goodreau is the guy who sets players up with uniforms and equipment when they arrive and packs up their locker when they depart.
In Goodreau’s 22 years of working in pro baseball, he calls this season the craziest of his career. Numerous injuries have left holes in the Boston roster, leaving Pawtucket to fill in the gaps.
When a player leaves Pawtucket another comes in from another farm team or for rehab. This season, the PawSox have used 49 players. The club record is 70 in 2006.
With so many transactions, communication makes all the difference.
“It’s crucial that these things get executed in the right way,’’ said Mike Hazen, the Red Sox director of player development. “It has to be seamless or mistakes can be made. We’re taking guys to big cities from smaller cities and across the country and they need to be there in time and ready to play. It seems like a pretty seamless transaction but there’s probably a number of e-mails and phone calls that take place, whether it’s travel logistics or getting a guy to the stadium, and that involves countless numbers of e-mails and phone calls.’’
Eventually those calls reach Goodreau — or “Goody’’ as he’s known around McCoy Stadium — who has to find a spot for the player in the clubhouse. He has driven players to and from the airport, driven cars left behind in Pawtucket to Boston, and shipped mementos accidentally left behind.
Goodreau and PawSox trainer John Jochim lean on each other to keep the details in order, while passing along information to other members of the staff.
When a player arrives at McCoy Stadium, Goodreau works to make sure everything is ready the moment the athlete steps into the clubhouse. Of the 35 lockers, only one isn’t occupied. In a typical season, the PawSox would have about five empty lockers, giving the pack rats on the team room to spread out. But this season, any extra junk is on top of lockers or stored in the equipment room.
The calls come any time, day or night, and Goodreau jumps into action. He doesn’t travel for road games and keeps up the clubhouse while the team is away. He estimates he sleeps about three hours a night during the season, beginning his day at 4:30 a.m. He carves out time to spend with his 5-year-old son and then turns his attention to the upkeep of the clubhouse.
Goodreau, 41, stumbled into this career. A native of Williamsport, Pa., Goodreau was surrounded by baseball in the home of the Little League World Series. He grew up appreciating the climb to the professional level.
In 1988, Goodreau was balancing two jobs when he noticed an ad in the local newspaper. All it said was “Clubhouse Manager’’ and a telephone number. The job was to run the clubhouse for the Seattle Mariners’ Double A affiliate in Williamsport.
Since then, he has worked for several organizations, including the New York Mets, and joined the PawSox in 2008. Although he doesn’t consider himself a fan, Goodreau said he does find himself pulling for each player to succeed.
He has removed names from lockers and hid them in the back in hopes that he doesn’t have to pull them out again.
“With the situation that’s going on in Boston, a lot of our guys are getting the chance to go up there and play and prove what they have and what the Red Sox have taught them over the years and how they’ve matured,’’ Goodreau said.
When outfielder Daniel Nava hit a grand slam in his first major league at-bat, his former PawSox teammates were rooting him on.
“Nava went up and opened a lot of people’s eyes that first time and they’re still open,’’ Goodreau said. “That’s what I like to see. When I see something like that, it makes me appreciate a lot of stuff.’’
PawSox manager Torey Lovullo acknowledged all the shuffling of players can be a challenge, but that is the nature of being a farm team. On July 1, Lovullo said he literally introduced catcher Dan Butler, who was up from Single A Greenville, to relief pitcher Rich Hill, who had been acquired from the St. Louis Cardinals, on the mound.
“It’s unusual but we just laugh it off and move on,’’ Lovullo said. “That’s what we do here and we have good players who help us get through it.’’
No one is sure how the rotation of players in and out of Pawtucket will go. Bad news for the Red Sox means an opportunity for a player at another level. And when the call comes, Goodreau will be ready to welcome the next player.
The stain and the sleep can wait.
“I can sleep when I die, right? That’s what they say,’’ Goodreau said.
Monique Walker can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.