The firing of Bobby Valentine is so certain that Boston's owners won't even throw a vote of confidence his way. They're all "I don't want to discuss it" and "we'll address that at a later date" and "Look! A llama in a tutu! [runs away]" For his part Valentine is making the mistakes of a person who has ceased caring. Alfredo Aceves throwing almost 143 pitches in four appearances in a five day period? Hitting Scott Podsednik in the three spot? How about bringing Dustin Pedroia in to face a lefty with a two run lead in the seventh? Don't look now but your starting third baseman is Wally the Green Monster.
So Bobby Valentine will be fired. It's going to happen. When it does, baring a change in organizational philosophy ("Eh, you're all big boys, manage yourselves.", the Red Sox will need a new manager. Plenty of names have been floated already by the media, by bloggers, and by fans. It's going to be an interesting off season and finding a new manager will be job one.
* * *
John Henry: [mumble mumble mumble]
Tom Werner: I'd like to echo John's thoughts and welcome you all to the first meeting in preparation for what we hope will be a great new season for the Red Sox in 2013.
Larry Lucchino: ROOOOOAR! RAAR! RRRRRRAAAAAR!!
Werner: Yes, I'll echo my colleagues and agree that finding a new manager must be our first priority. Ben, do you have anything for us on that front?
Ben Cherington: No, I don't.
Cherington: Because it's still early September and you all won't let me fire him.
A week and six losses later the phone rings in Cherington's office.
Ben Cherington: Hello?
Disguised Voice: Hello, Ben. This is Scott Boras.
Cherington: Hi Scott, I thought you were in Hawaii for the week.
Disguised Voice: Oh, I mean, hi, this is Bud Selig.
Cherington: Oh! Hi, Mr. Selig. What can I do for you?
Disguised Voice: I'm calling about Bobby Valentine. I think you should keep him on and actually extend his contract.
Cherington: Well, thank you, Mr. Selig. I appreciate your opinion and we'll be evaluating every one of our coaching personnel at the end of the season. Say, Mr. Selig, how come you have your voice disguised?
Disguised Voice: Well, Mr. Cher- I mean Ben, you can't be too careful nowadays. Someone might be listening in to this call.
Cherington: Well, sure, of course that makes sense.
Disguised Voice: So, Ben, I strongly urge you to keep me- Bobby Valentine on and to give me- him! a large raise.
Cherington: Right, OK. Well, thank you for your input, Mr. Selig.
Disguised Voice: Of cour-[voice disguise breaks]-se Ben I'm just glad I could help you with this important-
Cherington: Bobby?! Is that you?
Disguised Voice: /hangs up
* * *
Finally the season ends. Valentine is fired. The search for the new manager is on. First up, Terry Francona.
Ben Cherington: Thanks so much for coming in, Terry.
Terry Francona: Well, I feel I owe it to the organization. I should say up front I'm not sure I'm interested in the job.
Ben Cherington: I understand, Terry. Things didn't end the way we all would have liked them to last season and, well, I'd like to tell you, speaking for me and the entire Red Sox organization, we're all terribly sorry.
Francona: I appreciate that, Ben. I really do.
Cherington: Everyone here holds you in the highest of regards.
Francona: What was that sound?
Cherington: Oh, nothing.
Francona: It sounds like an animal escaped from its cage...
[BANG BANG BANG]
Francona: Someone's pounding on your door!
Cherington: Oh, don't worry about that. [BANG BANG BANG] So, about the job... [BANG BANG BANG]
Francona: What is that?! [BANG BANG BANG]
Cherington: That's just Lucchino.
Francona: Oh, right. I forgot about that guy. Guess someone forgot to feed him today. Anyway, you were saying, Ben?
* * *
Despite a nice interview, Francona would be nuts to re-take the Sox job and Francona is not nuts. So, the search continues. Next up, John Farrell.
The phone rings in Alex Anthopoulos's office in Toronto...
Alex Anthopoulos: Delta Delta Delta, can we help ya help ya help ya?
Cherington: Alex, it's Ben.
Anthopoulos: Hey hey hey! How's it going, Ben?
Cherington: Good, good.
Anthopoulos: Ben who?
Cherington: Ben Cherington.
Cherington: Yes. GM of the Red Sox.
Anthopoulos: OH! Chair-ington! Right. Sorry. So, what's up, Chair-ington?
Cherington: I was hoping we could discuss John Farrell. Are you interested in releasing him from his contract for a fair price?
Anthopoulos: Wait, so you're interested in Farrell? The guy who took a pitching staff with a 4.23 ERA and turned them into a pitching staff with a 4.33 ERA and then turned them into a pitching staff with a 4.61 ERA? The guy who has established himself as a leader in a stand up clubhouse by taking an 85 win team and guiding them to .500 record and then taking that .500 team and boldly guiding them 14 games below .500? That guy?
Cherington: That's the one.
Anthopoulos: Well I don't knooow...
* * *
Another dead end. Time to interview more candidates. First they bring in some of the same guys from last season's search.
Cherington: Yes, Pete, I see your red pocket square.
Pete Mackanin: /leaning over table DON'T DENY THE POWER OF MY POCKET SQUARE! DENY IT, AND BE DESTROYED!!
Cherington: Thanks for coming in.
* * *
Despite appropriating the services of Tim Bogar to speak bad third base coach to him, a conversation that involved the two men running backwards around the room while swinging their arms repeatedly in a circular motion anytime anyone so much as moved a muscle, Dale Sveum was not interested in leaving the Cubs.
The Sox were thwarted. The interview process was bogging down. No Francona, no Sveum, no Farrell, no Mackanin. But this time, the Sox didn't leave it at that. Indeed they left no stone unturned. The modern internet allows for avenues untraveled and indeed impossible to conceive of by early managerial searchers. The Red Sox took full advantage. First, Cherington put an add on Craigslist. It read:
Looking for an individual with excellent management and interpersonal skills, who is looking for a growth opportunity in a company dedicated to training and career development. Candidates from a sales, customer service, retail, hospitality, business, or management-related background are strongly encouraged to apply for this excellent career opportunity.
Responsibilities will include:
• Staff management and development (i.e. cribbage)
• Setting, working towards, and achieving lineups
• Account Management and relationship building within new departments (answering phone calls)
• Reporting and budgeting and reporting budgeting
• Hiring of new staff members
• Firing of same staff members
• More cribbage
• At least 5 years of previous experience preferred
• Bachelor's Degree
• Proven management and customer service skills
• Strong written & verbal communication skills
• Positive attitude and desire for career growth
Please respond with an resume, cover letter, and cribbage credentials
Next he updated his Linked In page to bombard all his connections with repeated and annoying emails announcing the position. He posted a link to his Linked In page on his Facebook and that of the Red Sox, then he tweeted both (and re-tweeted using the Red Sox accoung, sneaky devil). Finally he did whatever you do to a Tumblr blog to his Tumblr blog, and then posted it all to his Google+ and MySpace profiles. MySpace? You can't be too careful, he thought.
Finally, Cherington wrote out an email that he sent along to friends, family members, acquaintances, business and political leaders, passers by, total strangers, several Saudi Arabian princes, and his cat, Dr. Donkey.
Thanks for your attention and I pray that my decision to contact you will be given genuine approval. I humbly write to solicit for your partnership and assistance in the transfer and investment of my inheritance funds from my late father who died mysteriously last Dec.
It was very evident that he was poisoned to death. In my culture, when a man dies, if he does not have a male child, the brothers shares his property leaving the wife and the daughters empty handed. This is the exact case with me as I am the only daughter of my father. I lost my mother when I was barely a year old and my father refused to re-marry another wife despite all persuasion by friends and relatives, because he felt solely responsible for my mother's death, as he only concentrated on his business that he rarely pays attention to domestic/family affairs.
But he ensured that I had everything that I wanted. It was as a result of this that he made me the next of kin to his fund deposit with the bank and stated that in the event of any eventuality, I should have a direct access to the funds only when I am twenty-five years of age otherwise, I should have a guardian/partner to intercede on my behalf for the release of the funds to me. Unfortunately, he died late last year and I am twenty years of age currently.
I had discussions with the director of international remittance unit of the bank where my father deposited the funds and I was assured that once I have someone who would be honest and willing to receive the funds on my behalf, they shall commence all proceedings to effect the release and transfer of the funds into the person's designated account. Once you signify your interest to partner with me, I shall be giving you the bank's contact details so you request for the release and transfer of my inheritance fund into your nominated bank account for investment purpose and i can join you to continue my education.
Your urgent response will be appreciated. Talk to you the more.
P.S. - Also we are looking for a new manager for the Red Sox. Would you be interested in the position?
There. All done. Now, all there was to do was sit back, take a pull of that Mr. Pibb, put your feet up and wait for the qualified candidates to come waltzing through that door...
[Tune in again next week for another exciting installment of Finding the Manager! Or not!]