New Sox manager John Farrell will be introduced at Fenway Park today. He will face a skeptical public.
Because Farrell was 154-170 in Toronto and finished only a few games ahead of the Red Sox, he is not seen as a good hire by those fans with tunnel vision. They want a manager with a blank slate (Brad Ausmus) or one with a sterling record (Tony La Russa or Joe Torre).
But a successful manger is usually a product of time and place, not his past.
Terry Francona was run out of Philadelphia and didn’t get a managerial offer for several years before the Red Sox gave him a second chance. Torre was “Clueless Joe” in the New York Daily News the day he was hired. He was a lifer with a nondescript record.
The two managers in the World Series this season — Jim Leyland and Bruce Bochy — had losing records before they got their present jobs. The Padres let Bochy go to the Giants in 2006 without asking for compensation because they wanted somebody younger. Leyland was 72-90 in Colorado in 1999, then didn’t manage for six years before the Tigers hired him.
Farrell is the right manager for this team at this time. The Red Sox need a manager with a forceful personality, one who knows pitching, knows Boston and knows how to handle his business without creating unnecessary headlines. They also need a person who can navigate the treacherous waters of Fenway Park’s conference rooms.
Perhaps Ausmus could have done all that, but nobody can say for sure. Farrell arrives with those abilities. He should be evaluated on what starts today, not what happened in Toronto.
For this team, for this bunch of players and for this time in the team’s history, Farrell was a wise choice.
Welcome back to Boston, John. Hold on tight.
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