Dave Dombrowski (far left) watched his first game as a member of the Red Sox organization Wednesday night. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

First round of Dave Dombrowski first impressions is in the books

Rob Bradford
August 20, 2015 - 8:14 am

It offered a perfect example of how everybody is going to viewing things around the Red Sox for the next 1 1/2 months. Fresh off his introductory press conference, new president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski was roaming the Fenway Park field Wednesday afternoon, shaking the hands of all the uniformed personnel he could find. Upon arriving in the home side's dugout, Dombrowski was greeted by a group that included third base coach Brian Butterfield, second baseman Dustin Pedroia, catcher Blake Swihart and first baseman Travis Shaw. Going down the line, Dombrowski offered greetings to each, finishing with Shaw. But with the rookie, he paused and added, "You've been swinging the bat well lately. Keep it up." It didn't seem like much, but when you're in the midst of an entire organization trying to make a good first impression, it did seem notable. "That meant a lot," said Shaw after the Red Sox' win over the Indians, in which he hit his sixth homer of the season and raised his Fenway Park batting average to .543. "You always wonder what people see, but when a guy that hasn'€™t been here at all '€“ I'€™ve never met the guy in my entire life '€“ comes up and says something, that gives me that confidence and just shows that people are watching and people are noticing. I'€™m just going to continue what I'€™m doing. "Obviously, it'€™s a new guy and you want to impress your new boss, but you can'€™t really change what you do. You just try and help the team win any way you can. You obviously want to impress, but you can'€™t think to much about it." During the game, Dombrowski could be seen watching things up in the owners box. While most of the images presented of the president of baseball ops by the NESN cameras offered seemingly innocuous conversation, there was one instance that reminded how powerful a first impression can be. In the first inning, Jackie Bradley Jr. raced back on a Francisco Lindor line-drive and made a spectacular catch. Along with pitcher Joe Kelly's approval, the cameras also picked up Dombrowski mouthing what seemed to be a "Wow" in response to the grab. "Honestly, I didn'€™t even know he was up there," Bradley Jr. said after the game. "It'€™s always good to make a good impression. It'€™s a good feeling." All of a sudden Shaw, Bradley Jr., and a myriad of other folks in the Red Sox organization are faced with this new dynamic. It can be, and will be, uncomfortable. Few collecting paychecks at 4 Yawkey Way have previous relationships with the new Sox executive. Half the coaching staff is on the last year of their contracts. There's the managerial decision. Who will survive in the front office now that Ben Cherington is gone? Dombrowski will undoubtedly bring some of his own guys from outside the organization. ("He's very, very loyal," said one major league baseball executive of Dombrowski.) New and definitely different. "Nothing like this where you'€™re trying to win a job, or be in consideration for a job," said Shaw when asked if he's ever gone through an evaluation process like this. "Maybe taking exams," Bradley Jr. chimed in. "That last week you have to make that impression, make it count in school." Reports cards are coming.