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Remember ‘Fire Farrell?’ That was fun

It’s a long season, but we’re doomed to forget that.

MLB: Boston Red Sox at Baltimore Orioles
Chin up: Your job is safe, pal.
Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Have you seen Finding Nemo? You have probably seen Finding Nemo. It is the story of Marlin, a clownfish, and his quest to find his son, Nemo, also a clownfish, who is trapped in a dentist’s office in Sydney, Australia. His quest is a righteous one: Dentists are yucky.

In the movie, Marlin is joined by Dory, a tetra, maybe? I’m not sure what kind of fish Dory is. She’s a blue one, for sure. (Research indicates she’s a ‘blue tang.’) She forgets everything every 10 seconds or so. It is a good joke about the short memories of fish and is effectively played for laughs throughout the film -- which, thanks to the miracle of toddlerhood persistence, I watched five times in four days last week. It is a very good movie.

Have you seen Finding Dory? I haven’t, though I’ll buy it when it’s available on home video in mid-October. It’s probably pretty good, right? Anyhow, I’m getting off-topic. We were talking about… what were we talking about?

Ah yes, Finding Nemo. Have you seen Finding Nemo? You have probably seen Finding Nemo. It is the story of Marlin, a clownfish, and his quest to find his son, Nemo, also a clownfish, who is trapped in a dentist’s office in Sydney, Australia. His quest is a…

Wait a second. WAIT A SECOND. I just said that, didn’t I?

I’m sorry. Memories are short around here.

***

Hey, remember the “Fire Farrell” movement? That was fun.

For those of you who aren’t old enough to remember it, the “Fire Farrell” movement took place in the pre-September months of 2016, after a prolonged meh stretch by a Red Sox team that still sat above .500 with more than a third of the season to play.

Like “Tebowing,” the “Fire Farrell” movement had a short and hot shelf-life, but damn if you didn’t want in, if only ironically. When Stephen Wright got hurt running the bases, it seemed like the last straw among some fans, most of whom were annoyed by the day-to-day quirks in his managing, and not a freak accident for the knuckleballer.

What do I mean by quirks? Farrell’s habit of using players in designated spots on designated days without accounting for outside circumstances is what I mean. The best example of this is one that worked to perfection all season: playing Chris Young against righties. It turned out that the lefty-killer Young was really just good against everybody, and Farrell’s somewhat egalitarian view of his playing time issues exposed this. It should have been a point in Farrell’s favor, but it was written off (perhaps correctly) as a fluke.

Around the same time, Farrell’s decision to start a balky David Ortiz at first base against the Dodgers provoked the type of hand-wringing best left for the presidential election. Ortiz has always been a capable enough fielder, but something about the idea of him playing a single game in Los Angeles was taken in some circles as a crazy idea, even as it worked out fine.

I saw Farrell’s thought process here, and it was a surprisingly long-term one: If the Red Sox made the World Series, it would behoove the team to have had Ortiz play first base at least once during the regular season, just to keep his skills sharp.

At the time, this long-term outlook seemed laughable. The Red Sox seemed just as likely to make the World Series as I stand of plucking a fish from a fish tank with my bare hands. Farrell’s career with the Red Sox seemed to be reliably wriggling away.

Six weeks later, all of this is ancient history. The Red Sox have won 8 games in a row, have a magic number of 5, and Bovada lists them as the AL favorite to win the World Series (though, strangely, they are not the betting favorite to win the AL. Texas is. I don’t know either). David Ortiz is the betting favorite to win the AL MVP, with Mookie Betts and Mike Trout sitting just behind.

(As an aside, if we’re on the subject of MVPs let’s be clear about something: It makes no difference whatsoever to Trout’s legacy if he wins the MVP or not. He’ll be remembered commensurately with his outrageous skills, and nothing more or less. If you don’t believe me, go through every great player that has played since the MVPs were introduced in the early 1930s and tell me how many awards they won off the top of your head, and whether or not it makes a rat’s ass worth of difference as to how they’re remembered.)

Anyhow, this no longer seems like a season after which the manager would be fired barring a 2011-like collapse that, with 8 days left in the month, would have to really pick up the pace to be “effective,” which, in this case, means “remorselessly destructive.” The Sox look great. It may not be second-nature to give Farrell the credit for this, but if we’re eager to heap blame on him in the bad times, he deserves our praise now.

Unless, of course, we collectively choose to forget the “Fire Farrell” movement entirely, much like some fish reset their memories every 10 seconds or so. Speaking of which… this Sox season is starting to remind me of a movie. You’ve probably seen it. It takes place in the ocean.

It’s called Jaws, and the Sox look very much like the shark. We might need some bigger duck boats.