Most years, the job of the bench coach is a thankless task.
He's the guy in charge of organizing spring training for about 60 players, which includes scheduling workout times, dividing up groups of players, assigning coaches, determining which players will be on road trips for Grapefruit League games, arranging bullpen sessions and generally ensuring that the whole enterprise is running smoothly.
This year, the job has gone from thankless to almost impossible. Few would want what the role that Red Sox bench coach Jerry Narron has assumed.
Narron has organized spring training for a number of organizations: the Milwaukee Brewers, Cincinnati Reds, Arizona Diamondbacks, and for one season in 2003, the Red Sox, too, working as the bench coach under Grady Little.
But the coronavirus pandemic has changed the dynamic in a major way. For one thing, instead of having seven fields at Fenway South with which to work, the Sox are down to two -- one at Fenway Park and another several miles away at Boston College.
For another, the threat of COVID-19 has introduced a whole new element into the mix. Now, Narron must account for social distancing and other health and safety protocols. He must stagger workout times throughout the day to guarantee that there's no overcrowding on the field. And he must do all of it in lieu of exhibition games while still providing the staff with opportunities to evaluate the 49 players on hand.
"He's so good at this job,'' said manager Ron Roenicke, who had Narron as his bench coach in Miluwakee for four full seasons and part of a fifth. "He's been on top of what is without a doubt the most difficult training camp to try to schedule. He's really good at that.''