We are sitting in Section 31 at Fenway Park, in the dark blue wooden grandstand seats down left field, watching the Boston Red Sox take batting practice.
It’s a gorgeous day, hours before the Red Sox would become the latest team to clobber the Baltimore Orioles, and Dave Dombrowski, the Red Sox president of baseball operations, is sprawled across a seat.
There’s not a soul in this passionate sports town taking more heat these days, but even wearing his dark suit and tie, he’s not about to let you or anyone else see him sweat.
This is a proud baseball man who has been on the job four years to the day this past Sunday, the architect of a team that won three consecutive AL East titles, and a franchise-record 119 games and the World Series championship last year.
Hey, what have you done for us lately?
“Well, I don’t want to say too much about it,’’ Dombrowski, 63, tells USA TODAY Sports in an hour-long interview, “but I am surprised. At least a little bit. I mean, we did win three divisions and a World Series.
“But I get it. This is a tough market. It’s been known as that. Growing up in this game, I was always told there are three markets that are different than everywhere else: Boston, New York and Philadelphia. And I’d have to say it’s probably lived up to be true.
“If you don’t have thick skin, you’re not going to survive in this game. You won’t survive in this market for sure."
They’ve become spoiled in New England. Their sports teams have won an absurd 12 championships since the turn of the century, with six by the New England Patriots, four by the Red Sox, and one each by the Celtics and Bruins. They’re the only city to have a championship in all four major sports within a six-year span.