I was never a Farrell hater. In fact, I was never really a Farrell anything, because I focused on the players and the game more than the puppet-master. But after this summer, this week, if the Red Sox don’t fire Farrell, I honestly don’t know what it will take to get rid of him.
I’m not usually one to scapegoat or play blame games. There are a lot of problems with this team. I’m also not going to say that there isn’t a discussion to be had about the rules regarding sports and technology; times are changing, rules can’t stay the same – not that I condone cheating. But it all boils down to this: John Farrell is the manager of this team, and his job is to manage the damn players. He’s responsible for this group of young men; they are under his watch, his direction, and his tutelage. It’s therefore unsurprising that he comes off looking the worst. For once, the blame actually falls squarely, because whether or not he was the one actually doing the cheating, he’s in still in charge.
Until this week, the list of Farrell gaffes this year ranged from mishandling the David Price incident to mishandling his bullpen. He’s continuously faltered when it comes to his pitchers and his batting lineup, leaving most of us fans shaking our heads in confusion. I’ve written ad nauseam about the Price/Eckersley situation, probably because neither Farrell nor Price has yet to apologize to Dennis Eckersley. His inability to take responsibility and force his player to do the same is an indication of what kind of leader his, and worse, the kind of leader he is not.
Now we can add cheating to the list of unsavory moments in which Farrell has been involved this season. He claims that he knew they were trying to steal signals, but not that technology was involved, saying “I would’ve shut that down.” Ok, so you’re fine with semi-legal cheating, but not how they did it? Sorry, their iPhone 7’s weren’t charged so they had to use their Apple Watches instead? No. Props to the Red Sox though, for trying to actually make Apple Watches relevant. I’m still not buying one.
There’s no plausible deniability here: either he’s in charge of his clubhouse and nothing goes down without his knowledge, or he’s lost control over his team. If the players and trainers are scheming behind Farrell’s back, it shows that they don’t think they can win under his leadership: their faith in him as a leader is gone. If he did know, which, I think it would be hard for him not to at least have partial knowledge, then he’s a jackass who doesn’t want to work hard to get the team to win the honest way; he doesn’t have faith in them. Farrell is implicated in this fiasco by virtue of exclusion or involvement. Either way, he’s culpable.
I’m not saying that the Red Sox getting rid of Farrell will magically fix a floundering team or the serious lack of spark and bad attitude that’s palpable in the atmosphere. But I had nineteen innings to sit at Fenway Park and think about this last night, and I think Farrell needs to get fired. They’ll wait until the season is over, possibly to give him the chance to redeem himself with a postseason run, but I don’t think wins should be able to fix this. A new manager is the first step towards a Red Sox rebrand and a partial solution to a summer that’s been a PR nightmare. Someone’s head has to roll for this, and no matter the scenario, complicit or not, all roads lead to Farrell. It’s time for him to exit the game.