It’s mercifully over…
…the 2015 Red Sox season, that is. Actually, there were some positive developments down the stretch. But maybe that’s just because the pressure was off and no one was really watching. Or maybe it’s because I am such a positive person that I try to find the silver lining in every situation. Wait, that’s not it…I am a totally negative person. In any case…
Some may have noticed over the months that I seem to delay in responding to “breaking local sports news”. Time constraints can be a factor. Admittedly, part of it is pure laziness. But maybe the biggest reason is that my delayed opinion can be far different from my initial reaction. Once I actually think about what the news actually means and put it in greater perspective, my thoughts sometimes appear more rational…to me anyway.
For instance, when Dave Dombrowski decided to name Mike Hazen his General Manager, I was initially pissed off about it. Hazen has been with the organization for quite some time and I wanted DD to clean house. If Hazen was a right-hand man to Ben Cherington and Bennie Boy was such a colossal failure, why did anyone want Hazen still around? Reminded me of when Ben was promoted when Theo Epstein departed…just keep moving down the line and hiring the next “young whippersnapper” coming up through the system. Though Theo obviously had some success, so that was somewhat different. So it wasn’t an ideal hire to me.
Then I realized that Hazen isn’t making any real decisions…at least he shouldn’t be. Dombrowski will be the final say. Frank Wren was also hired as an additional outside voice. A longtime baseball man who has no ties to the current Red Sox ownership as far as I can tell. A positive move there, I say. Also, Hazen knows every player in the organization, Dombrowski is presumably still gathering information about all of them. Not that Hazen is right in his opinions on specific players. But he knows them. And as much as we bash Ben, he has had some success from the farm system. A lot of his guys are still developing of course and may still have plenty of value. For this alone, keeping Hazen and others that have been around in the organization for years seems to make a little sense. But again, as long as Dombrowski just takes all opinions, combines them with his own and then makes the final decisions. I can live with all that.
Another delayed reaction is to the whole Don Orsillo situation. Initially, firing D.O. seemed abrupt, cold and unnecessary. What with Jerry Remy still being around and me thinking he should be the first to go among all the broadcasters. I don’t watch every inning of every game on NESN. Often when I do watch the games I am half-listening since when Orsillo and Remy got in their little schoolgirl cackling mode, well, that act got a little tired for me. But I am glad they were having fun. But regardless, as a viewer, I personally saw no reason for a change with Orsillo at this time. The fan uproar kind of confirmed that. No one seemingly wanted to see D.O. go.
After letting time pass I then thought a little differently. Orsillo seems like a nice guy and all that, but I don’t know him personally. The bottom line is that he is only a broadcaster. Any followers of the Red Sox shouldn’t really care about who calls the games. Sure, a good broadcaster can make some difference in the way a game is portrayed that particular day…and even remembered down the road to some degree. But to me, those guys are few and far between. Especially nowadays. There are so many jamokes out there calling games in every sport it’s not even funny. And the fact that Orsillo is on TV…do we even need any announcers for TV anymore? Thousands of camera angles cover every inch of the field and every replay so the picture kind of paints itself. Ok. maybe that is for hardcore fans and the rest may need some “assistance”. But still…announcers on the radio would seem to leave a more lasting impression on a fan. Since those listening on that medium cannot actually see the action.
Most broadcasters these days also hang around waaaaaaay too long and what they sound like in later years kind of taints the memory of them from their heyday. Look at Boston itself: Johnny Most, Ken Coleman, Ned Martin, Joe Castiglione…if I thought more about it, I am sure I could come up with some more names. These guys were (are) making mistakes left and right at the end of their careers. It was (is) sad to see/hear. I’m not saying Orsillo is one of those guys now of course, nor do I know if he will be down the road. But what I am saying is that announcers can be severely overrated. And I think the outcry for D.O. was a little over the top. But probably made him feel good. No one likes to lose their job…in any field. But also let’s not cry for him. He certainly landed on his feet in San Diego. The way the Red Sox and Tom Werner handled the situation? Well, that was poor, no doubt. But…Don Orsillo/Dave O’Brien/Joe Blow…who cares? Let’s worry more about the product on the field…
…as for this, my final delayed reaction of the day. One opinion I have NOT changed after further analysis. John Farrell returning as manager. Yuck. Dislike. Dislike immensely. And then some. Listen, I have said it before and will say it again: No one wished cancer on Farrell. Well, I didn’t anyway. He shouldn’t lose his job because he got sick. He should lose his job because he is not a good manager. Because he sticks with mediocre veterans too long. Because he can lose confidence in kids quickly and therefore bury them. Because his in-game management is atrocious. The list goes on.
The record speaks for itself. 5 years, 2 last place finishes, 2 2nd to last place finishes and somehow the other year was a World Series win. Total aberration and it seems the Sox won despite Farrell’s managing. Everything fell into place in 2013. This is why he still has a job, as well as the public relations disaster the Sox will incur if they get rid of him while he is sick, but you knew that. Tommy Werner certainly does. But I think based on the record, you can throw all that out. Take out the WS year and he is 303-345 (.468) in the other 4 years. He lost the Toronto clubhouse after only 2 years and started losing the Sox’ in 2014, when stiffs like Mike Carp and Jonny Gomes were whining about playing time. The lineup was terrible to start 2015, but the pitching was worse…and that is his forte. The team played better when he left…though admittedly, that could be due to a variety of factors. Man, even his record on challenges is 21-31, according to Baseball-Reference.com. All of these items should be enough to say goodbye.
I know Farrell has the contract for a couple more years. I don’t know if Torey Lovullo is a good manager or not. Despite the good showing down the stretch, hard to evaluate it based on all the circumstances. But next year’s setup is a little mystifying. Lovullo signed a 2 year extension as bench coach and in the process forfeited his right to interview for other managerial jobs. Does this mean he is “next”? Lovullo and Farrell are close, so much so that Lovullo would apparently not use Farrell’s office when he was officially the manager the end of 2015 due to loyalty. How is Farrell going to feel that the next manager of the Sox is apparently his close friend and in the same clubhouse and probably one bad road trip in early 2016 from taking over? I would have to assume that they probably discussed this privately before Lovullo signed on the dotted line. And Farrell must have given his blessing. Maybe Farrell knows he won’t be healthy enough to start the year? Who knows? But would seem a little uncomfortable to most, no?
I think a clean split, even with the potential PR nightmare, was the way to go. It remains to be seen if this scenario is going to work. Maybe Arnie Beyeler was the problem. Seems to me that just firing the 1st base coach wasn’t enough. The 1st base coach?? Really? Although, I admit it may make me a little more comfortable, but for a separate reason. The way Beyeler groped every player that got to first base after reaching base made me a little uneasy. Maybe I was the only one that noticed, but the guy was all over the baserunner. I’m all set with that kind of PDA.
So…time to look to 2016. Cannot wait to see what happens over the winter. Let’s just hope that Rich Hill’s dominance in September, Robbie Ross Jr’s competence in the closer role and Craig Breslow’s decent 2 turns in the rotation doesn’t find them in the same roles next year…or even necessarily on the major league team…
Posted on October 6, 2015, in Uncategorized and tagged Arnie Beyeler, Baseball Postseason, Boston Red Sox, Dave O'Brien, Don Orsillo, Jerry Remy, John Farrell, Major League Baseball, managerial changes, MLB, Tom Werner, Torey Lovullo, World Series. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.