AFL stint was a boost to Beyeler's career
Red Sox first-base coach managed Trout and Harper with Scottsdale in 2011
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- As part of a coaching staff known across the board for its tireless work ethic, Arnie Beyeler loves the fact that most of his key duties are done behind the scenes.
A Minor League manager for 13 seasons, Beyeler didn't get into coaching for the glamour. Entering his second season as the first-base coach for the Red Sox, Beyeler simply loves to teach.
With his understated yet warm personality, Beyeler effectively relates to the personalities that make up the Red Sox.
One experience that helped Beyeler round out his development in the Minors was managing the Scottsdale Scorpions in the Arizona Fall League in 2011. It was there that he managed some players you might have heard of … like Mike Trout, Bryce Harper and Will Middlebrooks.
"I just thought it was a lot of fun to be around that caliber of player," Beyeler said. "It was a great honor, first of all, to get picked. The guys we had out there were just big-caliber players. We had a lot of fun. We weren't very good, probably because we didn't have a very good manager."
That was classic Beyeler, self-effacing as always.
Shane Victorino recently noted how much extra time he spent with Beyeler learning to play right field at Fenway Park. If coaching up a player who had already won three Gold Gloves Awards before coming to Boston could seem daunting, Beyeler's AFL experience helped him master the art of communicating with star players.
It was with Scottsdale that Beyeler learned how great players tick. Trout struggled in his AFL experience, but he earned the respect of the guy who managed him that fall.
"To his credit, [Trout] had lost 20-25 pounds that season throughout the year, and he came out to the Fall League and he was done. And he told me he was done," Beyeler said. "He said, 'Hey, I'll do whatever you need me to do. I'll show up, I'll play. I know we're low on players. You need guys, I'm here to play. But I just want you to know, I don't care where you hit me, I don't care what you do with me, but I'm done.' He recognized that."
And even on empty, Trout went all-out.
"He still kept working. He had his shoes on every day and said, 'Hey, if you need me, I'm here to run on the off-days.' The Angels taught him right. He was a very professional kid," said Beyeler. "He always had a smile on. He was fun. I was so happy to see him succeed, because he was such a good kid."
The experience with Harper -- who received more hype initially than Trout -- was similar.
"I always wanted to see him hit one [out] in a game," Beyeler said. "I threw a lot of BP, but for some reason I didn't get in his group. I wanted to throw to him. And then I wanted to see him hit one in the game. He struggled out there for the first two weeks."
When Harper's slump ended, he hit a ball that leaves Beyeler awed to this day.
"He finally ran into one on a night in Salt River, and he hit it back through that tunnel," said Beyeler. "The outfielders didn't even move. It was amazing. That was what I wanted to see. I wanted to see him hit one in the game. In his BP, he'd hit balls out in Scottsdale over that awning in Never Never Land, but that was BP. I just wanted to see him hit one in the game."
And Beyeler saw up close that the best players are often the hardest workers.
"[Harper] played hard every day," Beyeler said. "He showed up every day. He worked his butt off. He was fun. And being around those guys helped Middlebrooks out a little bit to realize, 'You know what, I can play with these guys also.' It was just a great atmosphere."
Beyeler won't rule out managing a Major League team some day, but he doesn't sound like he's all that concerned about seeking it out either.
On April 4, when Beyeler stands in the first-base coach's box at Fenway Park for the home opener, he will do so not long after collecting his World Series ring.
"I'm so excited to just be here. I'm happy to do what I do here," Beyeler said. "I know the way things happen, the progressions in the game and whatever. I'll be happy doing what I'm doing with this group of coaches forever. I'm content with what I'm doing. Who knows what comes down the road. I'm not looking for anything like that."