I have my preferences. Â Terry Francona left me with a feeling of calm when it came to future mangers with little experience or not-great records. Â I haven’t been bothered or worried by the choices showing up for interviews on Yawkey Way because I’m good with there being a process I pay little attention to that the folks in charge of hiring would be more in touch with. Â Over there, they all know more about what it takes to get a good managerial fit for this team than I do and, regardless of my preferences, I have faith that the person they pick will be chosen for reasons that make sense to the team and will, eventually, work well with what they have.
I never thought, given all that was revealed and went on when the 2011 season ended, that I’d be more annoyed with the fans than the organization but today that’s how I feel. Â When it was announced that Dale Sveum had accepted the manager position with the Chicago Cubs, suddenly people who had spent days lamenting that the Red Sox would even think of considering Sveum, were hand-wringing over the Red Sox losing him to Chicago. Â Then the unsubstantiated rumors came out that Bobby Valentine is on the top of the list of Red Sox candidates for manager, making people begin talking about how Ben Cherington has no control and Larry Lucchino will run the team into the ground.
Here’s where I feel like I need to write my feelings down somewhere just so they don’t get lost in everyone else’s hysteria.
First off, is it so crazy to think that it’s actually a good idea, regardless of his pedigree with the team, that an ownership like Henry, Lucchino and Werner wouldn’t allow a freshman General Manager to be the sole person responsible for picking the manager of one of the most popular and storied baseball teams in Major League Baseball? Â If your child has been sitting on your lap while you steer the car Â all her life, do you then go and give her the keys to your Rolls the day she gets her driver’s license? Â I had no doubt from the beginning of this process that it was going to be a joint effort with the ownership and Cherington making the decisions together and there is nothing, thus far, that indicates to me this hasn’t happened.
Which brings me to my second issue. Â Many people “worrying” that it looks like Larry Lucchino might be overriding Ben Cherington’s decisions already and it might be something that runs Ben out of town ala Theo and his gorilla suit. Â I refuse to believe that, given his time with the team, it will come as a surprise to Ben that Larry can be something of a control freak. Â Aside from Theo Epstein, there is probably no one in Major League Baseball right now who knows what it is like to work for/with Larry Lucchino better than Ben Cherington. Â He isn’t a child, people. Â There is no way he made the decision to take this job without knowing how much of it included Larry Lucchino.
And here’s my third point. Â Every bit of angst being written or spoken about this process is connected to anonymous sources and the speculation of reporters. Â People being stunned that after only publicly interviewing five candidates, there could actually be other candidates in consideration that the Red Sox didn’t make a public go at confuses me. Â With the number of other teams out there interviewing for managers, does it strike no one as maybe a good defense to make public the candidates who are also being interviewed by other teams…throwing the public, especially the media and rabid fans, a bone by showing them how the process is moving forward, while also keeping a few preferred managers closer to the vest?
Let’s talk about Bobby Valentine. Â I have no real love for him. Â I mute my television literally every time I see his face on it so I don’t have to hear him. Â But Bobby Valentine isn’t the worst person they could choose for a manager. Â He certainly isn’t my choice (although, once Tito quit and all the stories about what went on in the clubhouse came out, my first reaction was “Bring Bobby Valentine in to clean that crap up”…I’m a little more rational about it now, but not by much) but the idea of him isn’t so absolutely terrible that it would make me stop rooting for the team (something many people I interact with have suggested, some in jest but a few in all seriousness). Â What really is starting to get under my skin is that people are equating the Red Sox hiring Bobby V with Ben Cherington having no control over his own job and its duties. Â Why is it so unbelievable that Cherington could possibly think Valentine could help this team? Â Because there were no public statements about him (and, for the record, still really aren’t)? Â Just because Valentine is of the old school and folks are assuming young Ben Cherington wants to go younger? Â Is that why he interviewed Gene Lamont? Â (And just to digress for one moment, do people actually think Gene Lamont would make a better manager than Bobby Valentine at this point in each of their careers?)
Disregarding how his career has been in Boston, if the John Lackey signing taught me anything it taught me that the Red Sox know how to keep a secret from the media. Â Not one of them knew it was coming. Â Twitter was amazing that day with the stunned (and sometimes angry) tweets of the professionals who were totally blindsided by the signing. Â Why is it such a stretch to think the Red Sox have plans that the media (and by extension, the fans) know nothing about? Â I’m cool with not having blind faith but since when is the opposite of blind faith such a vitriolic hatred of an ownership group that helped bring two World Championships to our lives?
The Red Sox signed Terry Francona in December 2003. Â More people were upset about the decision than happy. Â Many didn’t even have a clue who he was until they did an Internet search of his name. Â For a long time, especially in 2003 and 2004 during the times when the team was struggling, there were accusations that the only reason he got the job was because Curt Schilling insisted upon it as a condition of his signing with the team (something both Schilling and Francona still deny). Â Eight years later, and Red Sox fans have had much more to celebrate than not. Â Theo has moved on and Tito is gone but thee is still no reason to fall into “The ownership doesn’t care and will ruin this team” default and I’m getting really tired of that being the prominent theme among so many fans. Â The Boston sports media can say or write what they want and I have, for the most part, finally rid myself of caring about that crap. Â But when the fans start acting like it’s the pre-2004 days, I’m infuriated at the idea of being associated with them.
This season, things have been rotten for Red Sox fans since September. Â I get that. Â I feel that. Â I know that. But there are enough things that we know have happened or have been done that we can lament without getting caught up in the hysteria the Boston sports writers are feeding us.