With apologies to hockey and basketball, football is behind us, which means we can really focus on baseball season. The local sports media focuses it's coverage about 90% on the Patriots during football season, so knocking that down to whatever-it-is-in-the-offseason allows us a bit more insight into what's happening on the diamond.
Gordon Edes has well timed his "5 Questions" serious, kicking it off today with a question about John Farrell's impact, and he brings up an interesting point:
There may be an element of truth in what Valentine said, that any manager replacing the popular Terry Francona would have encountered resistance from a team still reeling from its collapse the previous September and bombarded by stories questioning its character and commitment, leaving it wary and defensive. But if Valentine had to deal with a perfect storm of dissolution, the circumstances awaiting Farrell may be ideal for a team united in a desire to erase bitter memories.
Farrell won’t have the trust issues that plagued Valentine, not with his coaches, players or front office. He understands the territory, having been a pitching coach here for four seasons, so he knows how to navigate the minefields into which Valentine often willingly lurched. The fan base appears supportive, although there may be a wait-and-see aspect to how quickly the fans embrace Farrell as a curative.
It's an interesting thought -- and probably pretty accurate. It's very difficult to imagine this year going worst than last. And 2012 had Bobby V's imprint on it so strongly that I have to think Farrell will be given plenty of leeway with how 2013 unfolds.
I like Farrell, and I think he'll do well here. The biggest issue with Bobby V wasn't in-game strategy or preparation, it was communication. He didn't communicate well with his coaches, who hated him, his players, who mocked him, and the front office, with whom he had several known disagreements, and probably many more behind the scenes. Farrell and Ben Cherington appear -- at least at the outset -- more on the same page about what it takes to win. Now we'll see how long it takes the club to get there.
Image: Sullivan Tire