In MLB‘s history, there have been players that serve a very important role for their team that fans don’t really see, but teammates love and appreciate. It is the clubhouse leader, the guy who rallies the troops and keeps everyone loose. Tony Perez of the Cincinnati Reds was like that. The best example of this type of player that the Boston Red Sox have had was Kevin Millar. He wasn’t the most naturally talented player in the lineup, but he was the one who the team rallied behind and served as their spokesperson. He was the one who had the team believe that when they were down 0-and-3 against the New York Yankees in the 2004 ALCS, it didn’t matter. Millar convinced everyone that Boston would come back and they did. He was the one that kept the team together and loose. One of the reasons Boston collapsed in 2012 is because they didn’t have that sort of player to keep them believing in themselves when things started falling apart.
Jonny Gomes is the same sort of player. A lot of fans wondered why he was signed to a two-year contract, knowing he probably wasn’t going to play every day. He isn’t a particularly great left fielder; the one thing that he does very well is destroy left-handed pitching, and he hasn’t hit them that well this season. There was a bigger reason that Boston went out and got him. Gomes has been instrumental in helping turn a clubhouse from one of the most dysfunctional in recent times, to a team that is close as one can get. He has also had some huge clutch hits.
This isn’t the first time he has been a part of these types of turnarounds, however. Pretty much everywhere he has gone, he has won. This is a player that the Oakland Athletics considered their leader, even though he only had one at bat during the 2012 ALCS. It’s the same way with Boston. Most times you hear that it is Gomes’ team. Everything positive, from the Boston Strong shirts to the beards, all seem to have started with Gomes. The heart and soul of the Red Sox is probably a player who doesn’t play every day and is batting about .230. However, he is worth every cent of that two-year contract, and is, without question, their emotional leader.