By: Cory Mageors
SURPRISE, Ariz. (105.3 The Fan) – Everybody knows who the leader in the Rangers clubhouse is.
But while he was away, who took on those responsibilities.
Rangers manager Jeff Banister noted how important Beltre is to the club.
“The Texas Rangers world spins on its axis properly when he’s around,” Banister said.
That couldn’t be more clear and evident. When Beltre walked into the clubhouse this morning after returning to the team from the World Baseball Classic where he played for the Dominican Republic, you could clearly see players gravitating towards him. Members of the coaching staff were cracking jokes and shaking his hands and the clubhouse seemed right again.
Despite being playful on the field and boisterous in the dugout, Beltre has always been able to command respect in the clubhouse from every person.
You’ve seen the respect Banister has for him by how things play out when the third baseman gets into disputes with umpires. Man to man, the level of difference is very obvious.
It might not be that apparent, but Beltre has a humble nature about himself and how he plays the game.
When asked about playing with Orioles third baseman Manny Machado during the WBC he said Machado was a great teammate and then added another note.
“I’ve always had to work really hard and put in the work to be okay at what I do, but for him, everything looks easy. He makes it all look so easy,” Beltre said.
One of the best third basemen in the game saying all the hard work has made him “okay” at what he does.
Another opportunity arose however in the midst of Beltre’s absence.
While the clubhouse is void of a leader, the natural thing to occur is other leaders take over. Whether it be by staking a claim, displaying work ethic to other younger guys or taking a role in teaching during Spring Training, guys in sports simply look for a leader to follow or become one.
“I believe him not being around has allowed other players to flex their leadership muscles,” Banister said.
When asked who specifically Banister pointed out Shin-Soo Choo, Elvis Andrus and Carlos Gomez.
All players with tenure in the league.
Andrus to me has been more like Beltre’s little yappy dog pal to the big bulldog Spike. He’s playful and chipper, but he was always the kid. After putting up the best season of his career offensively last season he has earned the right to demand more from others and be a stronger presence in the clubhouse if needed.
Now that Beltre is back, he can lead again, but he has strong support as always from guys who have learned more about their leadership roles within this organization.
Beltre also has a big milestone coming up.
However, as a modest leader would do, he’s asked the media to keep the focus off that as much as possible and focus more on the team.
“I don’t want to distract from other things,” Beltre said. “First make the playoff and then win the World Series.”
Just like a great leader to set the goals high for his team.