NORFOLK (WAVY) – Life didn’t work out the way Ron Johnson had planned. Like anybody else born and raised playing baseball, Johnson dreamed of one day making it to the big leagues. 

“My goal has always been to manage at the major league level, and I know I can do it, but I”m also very proud to have this job,” said Johnson, who began his seventh season as skipper of the Norfolk Tides on Friday night. 

Hired by the Tides in 2012, “R.J.” somewhat felt his new venture was a “fall from grace,” considering he had to leave his job as first base coach of the Boston Red Sox. 

But it didn’t take long for him to appreciate and enjoy where he’d landed. “Some things in life, when you think something’s not going to be really that good a deal, it turns out to be phenomenal,” said Johnson, who’s made his mark as the winningest manager in Tides history. 

Johnson has not only established himself as one of the best player coaches in the minors, he’s also earned the trust of Baltimore Orioles manager Buck Showalter. 

“How do you not get a long with RJ? He’s got the hardest job in baseball,” said Showalter before his club’s exhibition game against the Tides. 

“If you don’t want to know his opinion, you better not ask it.”

As far as his opinion of working in Norfolk for more than six years, R.J. says, “I’ve been  a lot of different places, and this is the one of the best places to work you could possibly imagine.”