You might still hate John Farrell. Just don’t take it out on us.
That’s all I ask. Whatever your issues with the manager, real or imagined, he’s not bad at his job. As The Boston Globe’s Chad Finn recently wrote, he’s a good-if-quirky-one, not a great one. I think, hope, that most of you, us, believe this. Many of you do not, and you have your reasons. He can certainly grind on fans, as Finn said:
Farrell certainly can be exasperating. He seemed on the verge of burning out closer deluxe Craig Kimbrel early this season. He seemed more annoyed that the David Price/Dennis Eckersley confrontation became public knowledge than he was that his pitcher made a fool of himself.
This are serious issues, and Finn still rates Farrell highly despite the next ding, with which I disagree:
This is the one that really annoys me: He continues to hit Mookie Betts leadoff for some bewildering reason, guaranteeing that Betts gets one at-bat per game (his first one) with no one on base. That also leaves arguably their most dangerous hitter — despite Betts’s inconsistencies this season — following the worst hitters when the lineup turns over from 8 and 9 to 1. Hit Betts second or third and go from there.
I’m very cool with Betts, our best hitter, batting first, and my guess is that it’s at least a wash between the runs lost by doing this versus those gained by having our best hitter batting more than anyone else. Small stuff, though, all on the same page, the top of which says, “Actually, John Farrell is good.”
All the evidence points to it, especially as this team expands its first-place lead as August ages. These Red Sox have a better record than last year’s David Ortiz-helmed one and are only now hitting their stride. The evidence here is irrefutable unless you ignore it completely.
Which you do! Over and over and over:
We the people of newengland think @EvanDrellich sucks.... stick to the John Farrell butt sniffing seems that's your calling— TheDIRTYtruth (@theDIRTYtruth44) August 8, 2017
Why is John Farrell a manager, well actually I know the answer to that but he still sucks— The_sports_fan (@Thesportsfan8) August 1, 2017
How is John Farrell still managing the #Redsox ???— BosoxBrain (@bosoxbrain) August 2, 2017
Another game with Benintendi on the bench. John Farrell is the worst manager in Major League Baseball. Dude is a joke.— Adam Heasley (@AdamHeasleyBNR) August 1, 2017
Which is cool, for you. There is nothing wrong with being wrong about sports, or being an idiot about sports, as long as you are not a jerk about sports. They are molds of clay for social interaction much like molds of clay are social interaction for children. They are basic. The only real rule is not to hurl the mold of clay at anyone else.
That the molds of clay are figurative can lead some people to think that the rules do not, in fact, apply, and that since you cannot cause bodily harm by merely talking junk about sports, you have free reign to go nuts. This is wrong. If the molds of clay exists solely for us to use them alongside each other — and they do, and in this case are a very early, very literal form of social media — the rules still apply.
If you are not happy with the way the Red Sox are playing these days, please do not throw the figurative mold of clay at Farrell. He may not be fast enough to dodge it — he’s not perfect, as Finn wrote -- but at this point, you’re just wasting your ammunition. He’s no dragon, but your self-styled giant slingshot isn’t going to take him down either, whatever he is.
When Farrell leaves — and he may as soon as this offseason, despite what I’ve written — it will be as a manager in good standing, one for whom it was just time to move on. It happens. Change for the sake of change isn’t as good as some people make it out to be, nor is it necessarily bad, even if the deposed manager is a good one. If Farrell leaves, it seems as likely to be a de facto mutual parting of ways, with the understanding that Farrell’s time here has run its course and he would, most assuredly, quickly find a new job elsewhere.
I think the in-demand aspect of his tenure is downplayed. It’s easy to forget that he was manager of the Blue Jays before he was manager of the Red Sox and despite a four-games-under-.500 record over two season in Toronto, Boston traded for him, its former pitching coach, to return. As he heads for his third AL East title in four years, the idea that he would be out of a job after this, by choice, is preposterous. Just ask Jays fans:
John Gibbons can be dumb sometimes and I wish the Blue Jays still had John Farrell. We would have had a third world series by now https://t.co/wmTMaXAfBM— Biased Sports Fan (@LoyalStarsFan) August 10, 2017
This isn’t to say he’s the best manager ever or anything, or as good as Terry Francona, but outside of Francona, he has earned one more World Serie title than anyone who has managed the club during the lifetime of virtually anyone you’ve ever met. He also has just as many if not more, division crowns, and in only a handful of chances. If he’s done this with strong cards, so to speak, it less detracts from his performance than, more, gets to the hard truth of what it means to be a manager: It’s basically a hustle.
Like most hustles, it’s not always pretty, but it’s past time we admit that Farrell is good at it. He’s at a safe-as-he’s-gonna-get-until-his-contract-is-extended 2.5 Danger Points out of 11 this week, when even the Astros are now starting to look vulnerable. The Red Sox are all in on Farrell this year whether you like it or not, but their position -- our position— is looking better and better heading into a season-defining series with the Yankees, and, at worst, in demonstrably hands that are certain, in free agency, to be in demand.