When the Red Sox announced the hiring of Terry “Teets” Francona back in 2003, I was, to put it mildly, nonplussed. In the wake of the Great Grady Meltdown, it seemed to me that we were handing the keys to the space shuttle to a guy I wouldn’t pay to sweep it. After all, in his four years with the Phillies, the team’s winning percentage never crept higher than .475. This was gonna be the guy to wipe away the dirty memories of the 2003 ALCS?
I knew Curt Schilling, who the Red Sox coveted madly, was a Teets Man. But I wasn’t convinced. I just kinda tucked myself in the corner and waited for the downward spiral to drop us even further.
Turns out, of course, that I don’t know shit. Whether it was Tito’s “player friendly” attitude, the mix of ubertalent and bit part guys who knew their roles and played them well, or the fact that every move the team made was scientifically calculated by a supercomputer on Mars, The Francona Years proved an unmitigated success, at least until September 2011. When he was shown the door, the guy nobody knew was suddenly the guy nobody could live without. And we wept in our beers and donned Save Tito shirts while Bobby V was paraded into town.
Now we’ve got John Farrell, who has just been named the manager of the Boston Red Sox. He, too, comes to us with an unimpressive resume as a major league manager. But he is everything Teets was and that Bobby V — and for that matter every other candidate in that dubious “selection process” — isn’t. Namely, someone who will fit the suit and look good for the press and try to keep the players comfy while robots chart the team’s every move.
I could shake my fists at the front office and say, “We need us an old school-type ass kicker in here. Someone who’ll knock these guys out of their complacency and toughen them up and make ’em hungry again.” Hell, I would have even liked to see them go all Synedoche, Fenway Park and hire Philip Seymour Hoffman as Art Howe for one majestic season.
But I got all worked up over this same thing in spring of 2004. And the robots did just fine by me that year. Here’s to a repeat performance in 2013. You can get a front row seat to the madness at TonsofTickets.com.