It’s an essential part of our culture, almost a tradition. And, as tradition dictates, the knives must now come out.
Last night, my twitter feed was almost exclusively red: red pepper, red labour, red sox, red sox nation; the former preoccupied with changing the course of Brexit, the latter with changing the structure of a club which, put simply, isn’t good enough.
There are calls for the firing of Dave Dombrowski and/or John Farrell: “a fish rots from the head down” said one tweeter. There are attacks on David Price: “a sullen presence in the clubhouse”. There are references to our inability to replace Papi and incredulity that Dombrowski believed that Sandoval and Ramirez could do so. There is criticism of Porcello’s reversion to type after a Cy Young season in 2016, together with Sale’s decline in the final weeks of the regular season and, related to this, concern about the effectiveness of Carl Willis as pitching coach.
There’s a great deal more, but these are the principal issues, at least on my twitter feed. And I haven’t made it to Boston this year, so I haven’t picked up a sense of the zeitgeist in the city itself. But here’s my long distance view from the baseball desert that is Leamington Spa, England:
Farrell should go.
I know he has a World Series and two ALE titles. But he also has two last places. I know he’s a nice guy – a friend of Tito’s is a friend of mine – and the bar staff in the Island Creek Oyster Bar speak highly of him. It’s also clear that he has the back of his players, as we saw last night with Pedroia and as we recognized, with some embarrassment, during the Pricegate affair.
But I’m not convinced that he is the man to handle Dombrowski’s “win-now” line-up. (Actually, I’m not convinced by the Dombrowski approach at all, but that’s another issue.) As readers of my baseball posts know, I was not in favour of his appointment in the first place and regret Lovullo’s departure deeply. He was a great bench coach under Farrell, and there was a real buzz in Boston when he took over as Farrell recovered from cancer. This year, Lovullo has taken the unfancied D-backs to the play-offs, achieving pretty much the same record as the Sox with significantly fewer resources.
We can all second guess specific decisions – why did Sale come out for that final inning last night? – and it’s not Farrell’s fault that Price got injured.
But my sense is that the Sox need a shake-up to succeed next year. And the departure of Farrell would be the catalyst for that shake-up.
And his replacement?
The man for whom we all have total admiration and respect: the awesome legend that is Jason Varitek.
Today from the everysmith vaults: Jorma and Rick Danko playing together in a show from 1987.