FORT MYERS, Fla. -- What's it like to spend 90 minutes listening to a former Navy SEAL-turned-motivational speaker?
"Powerful," Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell said Thursday. "Unique."
Make no mistake, David Rutherford left an impact on Red Sox players and coaches, just as he did with front-office members with whom he spoke last month at the request of president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski.
According to the website for his company, Team Froglogic, Rutherford served eight years in the Navy as a SEAL student, combat paramedic, operator and instructor. While the Red Sox are the first big-league team he has met, he said he has worked with race-car drivers, college lacrosse teams and recently the University of Pennsylvania football team.
Rutherford's central message to the Red Sox was the importance of teamwork to achieve a goal. At one point, he said David Ortiz "was getting all fired up." At another, he chose catcher Blake Swihart to face him in a fighting stance.
"We have to be 100 percent focused on a team-oriented lifestyle," Rutherford said later to reporters. "With that focus, all the things that we're looking for to create those bonds and that camaraderie and that energy to want to serve your teammates; that's where it comes out. I have these four concepts called commitment, training, communication and leadership, so that's what we talked about."
Said Farrell: "Any time you have exposure from someone who has the life experience of a Navy SEAL who has had so many life-threatening experiences, there were some points that were stressed that resonate to all. And it goes to show you that there are those who are trained to pay the ultimate sacrifice. And when you hear stories to emphasize certain points that surround those people, yeah, it resonates deep."