As the Red Sox stumbled out of the gate, the questions began to surface. Was this team all that it was cracked up to be? Were we all fooled in believing it had a chance at greatness? Does it matter at all if your team looks powerful on paper?
Through it all, the team stayed strong, hopeful that a 2-10 beginning was just a small road bump. However, there were slight strains of frustration, expressions of anger on the field and a few players who seemed to be pressing, to borrow a baseball phrase often bandied about in times of struggle.
Surely, some of the guys felt the strain. Not Adrian Gonzalez.
"I'm fully confident that come mid-September we're going to be in the middle of a pennant race and in a position that we're going to make the playoffs," Gonzalez said at the time. "How do we do that? We play better baseball. We play the baseball that we know we can play. That's going to turn around and it's going to turn around quickly."
It was a pretty forceful statement that came just before the team's current 28-14 run since the 2-10 start. Perhaps it was no surprise that when the team began to take off, Gonzalez was one of the catalysts. The one man keeping the most positive outlook on things was the one who turned it around first.
Such symmetry between attitude and production is a lesson that extends beyond the clubhouse. It can breed positive outcomes at work, at home or in any realm in which there are highs and lows.
Gonzalez's time in San Diego, during which there were a couple losing seasons, may have prepared him for times when the negatives outweighed the positives. However, to see Gonzalez deliver his lines is to know how intent he is, how focused on maintaining a positive attitude.
At times, he was almost incredulous that anyone would wonder whether the Red Sox were going to turn it around or not. He once was asked how difficult the situation was for the team.
"How tough a situation? We're eight games in. Ain't a tough situation," he said, smiling at the questioner the whole time.
It's that sort of attitude that can permeate through a clubhouse, even if it comes from one of the new guys.
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