It's been two weeks since pitchers and catchers reported to Fort Myers. Two weeks since Red Sox baseball returned. Two blissfully quiet weeks.
Last year, with the collapse fresh in our minds and Bobby Valentine at the helm, there was little chance spring training was going to be a quiet affair. And, indeed, it did not take long for the new manager to make some waves. Always talkative in those early days, Valentine seemed to be in the news as often as any of his players, even if the signs of the ugly relationship between him and the clubhouse wouldn't come out for a little while longer.
John Farrell? Well, is he even there? So far, through two weeks of spring training, you would be forgiven for thinking that the players were just chugging away of their own accord, at least if you're looking at things from a Boston perspective. While the Toronto media took focus on Farrell with the manager visiting Dunedin yesterday, so far Boston's skipper has been largely inconspicuous.
The saying "no news is good news" is never more true in baseball than during spring training. By this point in the year, the roster is (hopefully) almost a lock. Important trades and signings are just about unheard of, leaving only injury and unnecessary drama to account for news. Last year it was Crawford and Bailey being out to start the year, drama over Aviles and Iglesias, and rumblings of how much the Sox hated their new manager that made headlines.
So far this year, Clay Buchholz hurt himself during pitcher fielding practice, and is already back to throwing. That and a short scene with perpetual trouble maker Alfredo Aceves--one that may well have turned much uglier with Bobby Valentine--is all we've had to really talk about. And that's a very good thing for a Red Sox team that's in desperate need of a return to normalcy.
Inevitably we'll have our problems with Farrell. His managerial style is the sort that can be polarizing, and nobody lasts long before being raked over the coals for a bullpen mistake in Boston. But in a spring which has seen a fair bit of snark from certain media members who seem determined not to give the 2013 Red Sox a chance, at the very least it seems like the actual roster and coaching staff is doing a good job of staying out of the line of fire for now. There's still a long way to go, but the early signs, at least, are positive.