May 12, 2014|
On Mother's Day, one member of the Red Sox front office has her phone lit up by players and members of the organization. Red Sox senior director of minor league operations Raquel Ferreira objects when described by players as being like a second mom ("I prefer the term older sister or the cool aunt in the family," she joked.) But as one of the two longest tenured members of the Red Sox front office (along with Ben Cherington, who also started with the Red Sox in 1999), she's assumed a critical role both in terms of the formal operations of how the Red Sox minor league system is run and in terms of creating a trusted confidant for players and their families who helps to ensure that their lives away from the field help put them in position to succeed on it. Raquel Ferreira, Ryan Westmoreland and Ben Cherington join the podcast to discuss her role and significance.
Transcript - will not be 100% accurate
Welcome to a special Mother's Day edition of the show. There are so many people behind the scenes of a Minor League Baseball operation who helped to play a role. In getting people to the big leagues. And it's not merely a matter of scouting -- or offering instruction to them. At the coaching level there is also a very human side. To this undertaking when you think about people who are beginning their professional career as eighteen year old if they're signed out of high school sometimes sixteen year old. When -- signed internationally. This seemed like an appropriate time to discuss the person. Who farm system director -- Crockett called the glue that holds the player development department together. Rock -- Ferreira is now entering her sixteenth season with the Red Sox. In her third as the senior director of minor league operations. She joined the baseball operations department and the senior is GM bench Harrington. But that title hardly does justice to the impact that she has Wear -- today is the perfect time to shine a light on work. Price brands Padraic -- -- a god send in one of the most important pillars of the Red Sox organization. Guarantee -- said that she's like mom always one phone call away. Ryan Westmoreland said that she's become like a second mother someone with whom he remained in touch regularly even since his playing career and here's how Ryan was -- and explains the importance of a person. Like Raquel Ferreira or specifically Raquel Ferreira in his life. The biggest strength scrutiny was being made in Europe -- of high school not between now and a college -- all current plight. Jumping into the and then there's intimidation factor where you don't know what -- from a huge organization like the red bar. But the first -- sometimes seems slightly when -- And -- you know welcomed news that aren't that the world and the -- and business at all -- more welcome to much money. Arm and of course at the same time what that does your and in the rats are. -- somebody like cracked hello our. And out for me -- -- because. I have money cheap and the world to -- that in. Are you will. But the rest and I shouldn't I can't say enough good -- she is -- huge part of my quiet charm. We're not playing in not now on a retired here. It's having somebody that. I wouldn't say hey you know she's -- an editing just took the hard job and she is she's you -- see the big part of that organization. But it certainly nice. Out among manner that you know -- talked to him. You can talk to about it -- its product there's something that you shouldn't sheriff that are. She's one of the people that arm. You do -- think so and you can talk to just about news -- Meet you also talked or about red star and you guard on the air about. Aren't as somebody like that almond urine nation. A huge huge com. You know what you hear an eighteen year old high school kid just signing a war. You know 46 year old veteran and Chichi courtroom in the standard. Elected assembly member and he knows she's. Such a crucial part of -- organization because. -- make those young kids -- our overhead away and she's there with you arm to your whole career and you know that fusion of player to have some in the event. That you know -- that constantly use checked up on -- you know one. Just seen you doing it at the good part. -- rarely hear about Raquel Ferreira she remains an important part. Of what the Red Sox player development department is doing both in terms of organizing its operations a considerable undertaking. And in terms of helping people along. With some of the life challenges that exist along the way. Here's how GM bench Harrington explains the role the Raquel Ferreira plays in the organization. On for specific responsibilities. As well as the kind of presence that she's become in making a difference in the lives of those around here. Parole is certainly evolve over time she's added. She being given more more responsibilities than it did when I was working nuclear development. Her role as you know really took it to sort of these business manager for them moderately operation much Monica. You know. The NBA team they have a business manager -- college athletics program business managers who's also you know you can imagine. Which -- to coal and certain administrative effort that goes into. Organizing a minor league system is thinking about. 180 players and 56 east African. Spread out all over the country in the than any candidate. Spring training in six different affiliates. You can imagine the task is to. You know make sure that all people are. In the right place at the right time and have everything in -- To do their jobs and that's essential to our -- job was. And she still does a lot of that but her role is further evolved into other areas of the baseball operations. Where she's you know she handles she's still oversees the operation of the minor -- but also. Also you know those responsibilities for department on budget and a lot of our. A lot of our Major League. -- -- -- Business -- travel business. She's involved -- helping track record equivalent. So she's day that so that's that was the technical last that's -- term technical side. Her job in the way it's evolved. Of course that ended she makes an impact. In that. Area. Because. She just. You know especially good at it she you know it's you can imagine it's again no easy task to. You know organize that. Sort of that volume than -- -- volume. It's. Responsibility. That it is required to. Get all of those people all those different. There is. You know to the right place at the right time. You know way it's sort of functional. Wouldn't budget -- union allows them to focus on their jobs that's. For herculean task she makes it look. Particular release he's very guess who isn't even if it's only focusing on the technical aspects of rajat. She truly makes a difference because. -- the best I could say would be in need. What's it been now Austin you know fifteen years -- guests. Six. Sixteen years I can't remember. Romanian state can that I technical mistake I can't I can't remember -- mistake. Then there's been a lot of opportunity for mistakes. Immigration I left that immigration -- -- -- partners. Program which is huge effort I nomads. So that I can remember a mistake and maybe there's been a lot of I didn't I was aware of but. If she'd made a small mistake she probably sixty or so. That's the that's a pretty strong track record. Get beyond that I get the sense that her relationship with players is such that she plays. A larger role than just the formal responsibilities which she apparently executed flawlessly. Right so if you if you can imagine. You know some of the technical aspects -- -- -- require her to. Interact quite a bit with players so. For example -- since she's uncharted immigration. While she's got to talk to every player that comes in the United States about there. Immigration status and go through. That process with them and because she's you know organizing or use at least used to organize. This. And do organizational aspects -- training she's that are acting was every minor league player -- staff. And making sure that there. There where they need to be that comparable manner in -- -- on their job so -- there's always opportunities to interact with. People -- players and staff because of the technical aspect Sergio obviously she's able she's been able to. Develop really professional relationships with. Those groups. And really. And really you know strike. Circuit really getting ballots. Between you know that is certainly the position of authority. Over you know most of those people -- means studios and she needs to tell them. Yes no you can't do this you can't you just. But she still didn't really human way. Where players and staff greater knowledge roster and she becomes. She becomes. Trusted person costs and without. You know without losing. Madam. Credibility without losing you know respect and that's you know he -- she should make an impact. Certainly an -- plastic surgeon. But. Those technical aspects of the louder. Two to develop relations a lot of people now a lot of people are completely level. In those relationships. Through those relationships she's able to. Make an impact also. But I you know making that helping players and staff deal. To care feel like the organization is caring for them that there. Their questions are answered it as they're not answered it although all the time in the way mullah wanna hear. Associate. 20 lessen the number of ways. That's question I'll ask how important is it for these successful function of of a player development system as you. As a kind of taking some I mean the idea of handling operations for people who. Might not necessarily be always -- sufficient and have you know they're being thrown into. Scenarios with which they're unfamiliar you know whether moving between levels are trying to figure out things like immigration how important is it to have someone behind the scenes. Who is capable of of handling all of these things that at such a high level. How you know how how often are you in a position to kind of just appreciate the impact that she's had. On both the organization had on the lives of the players who are in it. Well a trial we probably don't step back and appreciated enough which is why I am glad this year. Doing this piece. And one of the reasons that. -- but but. There's no question that I think back. On my time thus far rector an instance. You know that we. There there are people. They're people working in this operations not just for the Red Sox -- those teams. Who. Might not be in service. Traditionally. Two -- traditionally certain visible. Baseball specific roles so there's. It's doubts. Coaches that are -- measures. There was not. There are people that. Are truly making it impacts on the baseball operation. Even though they're not in one of those sort of traditional baseball specific jobs. And that's because. That's because is as we all know. The job of finding and developing in nurturing its top players uses deception or try to do including eighteen together. You know it has its. As a lot to do assigning the right players and as a lot to do it. Coaching ray players. Coaching him in the right way you know putting them -- additional that. But there's also the heck of a lot to do. And where is. The sort of holistic. Approach to. -- -- adult tennis. Players as people. Item in. Sore need view. The jobs that are calloused well she's done them. Ten. Years as an organization we're better at that. After the break we'll talk to Raquel Ferreira in the special Mother's Day edition of the show. As we heard before the break Raquel Ferreira has become a very important person in terms of how the Red Sox baseball operations department runs. In specifically the minor league operations. So how did she get her start in baseball operations. Here she is to explain that. Very much see it happening. It's something that I always wanted to do lightly wanted to work in sports but. You know what's going to school in which you are right. I didn't really know about intern -- didn't really seek them out but my sister into deep needed somebody who. Was involved in the sports world that -- air. I was always taught to tell everybody you know you're looking for a job. And -- and you know I've -- and that worked here at the Red Sox. And she was leaving her position back it up as an administrative assistant. And I interviewed for that role. And I got it that was back and indeed that was here they're kind of how I started -- yeah. If so how then did you make the transition over to finally over to the minor -- side. Like -- ask as an acting assistant in Miami and I think what I first started here at the Red Sox and then they kind of separated the department. Over the years it was it was kind of one we were mightily since standing together. And then immature -- kind of branch stop and player development branch stopped at different direction and I. Kind of just went towards player development that that's where my passion on now I ended up just strictly working in and player development in the minor league system. And and eventually became. You know my box and he took over on the farm system. How how massive an undertaking is it to be two handle operations of minor league development of mightily much to handle minor league operations I mean when you're talking about. You know at any given time having to be. Having to figure out. Having to figure out the whereabouts I guess in some ways of a 160 players making sure they -- get in the right place the right time. How how consuming a job as it. It's a lot of work we have a good teams there in the very beginning I was extremely overwhelmed. Trying to keep track of everybody and who the are and where they needed to be -- obviously got a lot easier over the years but it is. It is the big undertaking but we have a good group of people care. Helped me out -- It's become a lot easier over the years. But it's a lot to keep track of you when you -- our guys that the Dominican academy we have over 200 kids in our management system. So in a formal and informal sense how how would you describe your role when you're when you're talking about it to friends -- you know weighed in saying what it is that you do -- you tell them. It did on some different things I overseas that daily operations or our team's six minor league affiliate. Handle all of our player contracts. Most of the transaction I oversee the current immigration program as well so. Any foreign born player company to come to the US on -- work visa I overseas back. And and I also the past couple of years has been managing the entire baseball operations budget. With the exception immediately people. And that's basically it and I -- Within that you know you have you have you know clearly defined formal you know former responsibilities that are you know that are -- consuming. That said it's one of the things that is striking to me is that. Is the way in which in which players what we'll talk about out of the way about there. Their connection to you you know you. Are described by some as being kind of like a family member or. You know or as some of the most describe -- you know will suggest that you kind of have a role that almost akin to that of a mom within the Red Sox organization. How would you describe what your relationship is typically with the players. Well first I correct them when they say mom because that's the term -- that there are unlike the pool onto your family as. I don't like to think I'm old enough to be there among us. But it's it's something that's kind of developed over the years. You know being a minor league player is it's a very tough. Like -- You on buses constantly. Hurt not a lot of pay and very few of them. Make it to the big leaks and I've always looked at our players as this is somebody on this that somebody's brother. Somebody and somebody's -- here and I treat them the way that I would want someone to treat my -- remember. So it's it's kind of morphed into that role but again I prefer the term oldest sister. So as record as an older sibling who is protective of her of her younger of younger siblings what what do you consider the role of an organization. In terms of the support network that it's necessary to provide for and I do think that it's fascinating and often overlooked it. You know we're talking about in in a number of instances players who turn professional as sixteen year old even from other countries or players who are. Bypassing college education in order to. In order pursued this. This field but you know if they were in college that they would have a support network that was pretty well defined for them what what support network roll. Do you think what what infrastructure. Needs to be there for I'm for baseball team what obligation as a baseball team have. To those kind of young men in those younger Brothers. Well I think that everybody here. Needs to treat and developed Egypt we want our players are at that we've made a -- movement in them. We do. A good job of giving -- and we've always had an open door policy here. Four on first name being in the air it's it's always been that way we have a lot of young players -- Coming from the -- You know only com -- and I'm like please. Please don't do that interest and -- -- out out and it makes me feel old media that thinks continually communicate and and I think we never hear the approachable. To a -- Helped a lot it's crucial in building to being an open environment without. And it's OK for the players to county for help and -- TT openly would help. You know. -- anything in return so I think open door policy here has worked extremely well. You after ready that either very young kids what he -- it you know they would have capital support in college or. -- that -- players coming from different cultures and ground that you know. In the country not now leaned. You know very much English so it'll eat you need to build that support around them whether it to somebody -- look at as the you know the only somebody that they can go to do. But it looked at as a teacher. Egypt and need to build a good support system around them and -- them to concede. Talking to Raquel Ferreira senior director of minor league operations for the Red Sox how often do you get a call from a player who's saying I think I might wanna quit. Cool common. At least. Top white the year before you it's usually before spring training camp. When players there. Have had the off season and a lot of them have thought about. You know do they still want to do this. It's usually probably about two players before every spring training. And so a lot of times they make contact me first they made contact and Crockett back. You know in the end. I would refer them to bank market to talk about you know their career with the choice that they want me on because it it is the top choice. What's the hardest kind of conversation that you had over the course of your time I mean I imagine that those are those are challenging ones when you when you're talking about. Helping someone to think about their future but of course you also. You know you've also had extremely difficult. You know medical situations. With players like Ryan Westmoreland with players like Anthony Rizzo and Jon Lester. Achieved. That the top one all three of those examples. Our you know pulled my cracked during. I've known John and left her for twelve years now on since we drafted him in 2002. That places. An extremely difficult situation. As well as Anthony Rizzo but I I would have to say the -- that has been Ryan Westmoreland. Who he is a tremendous tremendous individual who has built parade. And I mean we're worried and even describe how I feel about him and his family but. Probably the toughest one. You you kind of service the point of contact for a lot of these players. At the start of their professional careers like Ryan said that. Said that you're the first person in the Red Sox organization and we interacted with I would be interested to hear your first memories looking back on on a couple of those. I'm on a couple of those guys for instance what's your first memory of Jonathan Lester we've we've known for twelve years. And he's very quiet. The very quiet when he first came men. Young kid. Just remember him being extremely quiet. The first skier camp. But then you know he grew into. I -- he is today. He he was really quiet I mean first -- and I remember it was 2000 and we need to -- stayed Manny Delcarmen. -- and around I think and was my first exposure to. You don't mean realizing that I was the first point of contact for many players and significantly so. It's been great for me I've got to know a lot of these players and you know their parents an extended family. When I realized that many times I'm gonna be the first point of contact. -- player. How significant is that the responsibility just like you're going to be the person you're going to be helping to shape the perception of a lot of these people about the organization that. You hope in many in many instances they're gonna have a relationship with for a long time. You know -- and -- confidently that that's all fully -- a good impression on them. But like at that actually happened in the back of my -- that this is somebody's in somebody's son somebody's brother and -- Treat them believe that I would want to be treated and it is scary for her for players and also for their families TV -- moms that are. You know waiting here. She'll go locked in to you know be -- from home for the first time -- -- to -- -- -- high school and we -- each scene he is their mind and just to reassure them that you know will take good care of them. You said the Jon Lester was quite when you first met him I'm I'm not sure if that would be the case for Dustin Pedroia when you first met him. I'll keep it quiet out there he Philip squat in Destin think Terry is the same purse and now he was an -- -- and personality and remember to be talking to take BP. On the field and his gambling -- put them. What -- -- and he came to take BP he act and he was just fizzle out. He is now. Where -- the things he's getting now. It over the Montana and the people that -- -- -- -- he's coming to take their job he's been naymick backtracked and he had seen with. As as a first impression Goss was that I mentioned I was a little bit different with it immediately endearing -- to you have to take a couple moments before you. Before you figured out the lay of the land. Not it immediately endearing when it's -- and eat he can pull it up on because that's who he is like you can count when it genuine. Our Easter break you don't serve and they're tacking about with captain it's. It's always been genuine. And then not I guess also asked about a more recent prospect is now who's now on the Major League Zander -- when was your first contact with him. We -- when he came -- -- when he designed specially. And he came up with his family and is determined rather carry here. And officially came to sign on in -- com site and then for the first time and then when he came back. At their Dominican family player of the year. Forms you know good relationship with him in -- and -- as well. Well I think we've been great kids and minor league system what's that about incurred that needs. Justin -- he humble. Very mature. -- has has always been -- and don't -- easily 21 and he is. Extremely richer and very wise beyond his years. You you typically get get a chance to interact with these with a lot of the players when they're coming up to the big leagues is that correct. How cool is that responsibility being you know having been having been the gateway to their lives in pro -- having getting an opportunity to help them you know help them with the realization of you know of the gold right or at least at least an important critical massive part of that goal. When they signed pro ball -- to beat it and what what is your interaction like with them when they're coming up to the majors. And it's. The first probably year or ability to Bill Clinton apparently content to me to speak passes a lot of our players just want to do the right thing. And a lot of times they don't know who to go to for answers. Com so probably year -- so they. Politics and -- me it is that keep you what you do about this back to some. States. It's in them -- and let it fly and let them do with their approach to the. I guess the last question that Alaska now you know there isn't there isn't a formally define big -- day so that's being that being the case. You know with the with Mother's Day coming up obviously get to celebrate interview with your beautiful daughter album in but how many -- you get from players. Com. He can't bear like that that we. We have some great hits and an assistant so I get tax constantly. Whether it's Mother's Day whether it's recruitment whether it for Thanksgiving new years. Eight college basketball a lot but now it's it's. Means a lot to make. Just curious can you imagine kind of kind of person is staying in baseball working at working in a job in baseball that didn't have you. Connected -- player development or is this do you view this is kind of being part of your. Your vocation you know business. This is that decide that you really wanna be connected to. Think it was the iPad could be connected to you know of course but I want to strictly working on the Major League -- You know connection of the organization would keep media opportunity to do that -- player development and the Miami is something acted very dear to my car. And I think it would have a hard time letting Taliban. That's it for this week's show things so much to Ryan Westmoreland in bench Harrington for taking him. And of course strike -- perera for setting -- on on her own very important work behind the scenes. If you like to hear the complete conversations with bench Harrington Ryan Westmoreland in -- Ferreira. Check out the minor details podcast at WEEI dot com slash podcast. Things are producers had a day and built -- should tell these -- been kitchen for lending a much needed him this week. Ever went out there thanks very much for tuning in and had a spectacular Mother's Day.