Archive for the ‘John Farrell’ Category

MLB: Texas Rangers at Boston Red Sox

At this point, it is clear that Major League Baseball’s new replay system leaves something to be desired. This weekend’s Yankees-Red Sox series saw an odd play in which Yankees shortstop Dean Anna was obviously tagged out at second base per the replays played on the Fox Sports 1 broadcast. However, MLB replay headquarters either didn’t have the same angles as the broadcast or they flat-out missed the call, as the play was upheld after replay.

The next night, the Red Sox were on the losing of end of a rightly-overturned call at first base. Farrell came out to argue the overturned call and was promptly tossed from the game — arguing a replay occupies the same space as arguing balls and strikes, and Farrell must have known he was cruising towards a tossing.

The imperfections in the replay system are worth noting, and must be fixed before it can be considered a success. But it was striking, as I watched Farrell scream his lungs out at the umpiring crew: I hadn’t seen a manager lose his mind at the umpires yet this year, two weeks into the season.

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MLB: Boston Red Sox at New York Yankees

Michael Pineda of the New York Yankees pitched very well last night, contributing six innings and seven strikeouts to a 4-1 win over the world champion Red Sox. For the first four innings or so, he pitched with something stuck to his right hand. Something that didn’t belong there. Something that looked an awful lot like pine tar.

Pine tar has its uses, but when we see it on the pitching hand of a big league starter, it’s hard to think of a viable application for the product in a “game action” context. Why would a big league pitcher need pine tar, on his throwing arm, on the hill? Gripping the baseball is important, thus the presence of a rosin bag on every mound in baseball. But pine tar? For no reason outside conventional wisdom, pine tar has a more sinister connotation.

With a dozen HD cameras pointed at each and every baseball game, stuff like this doesn’t elude the unblinking eye for long. Broadcast picks up “evidence”, viewers (and announcers, typically) freak out, player is a cheater and reviled by the rival supporters. The team on the receiving end of these clearly doctored baseballs? They don’t make a big deal about it.

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MLB: World Series-Boston Red Sox at St. Louis Cardinals

Game Three of the 2013 World Series was a vast and storied affair. It contains multitudes, layers, and, as I wrote last night, cascading ripples of insanity.

Those ripples built into a rogue wave that suck the Edmund Fitzfarrell, drowning all sorts of great little talking points and moments on which the game might have turned. More than anything, this game provides ample opportunities for second guessing. Let’s count’em down in the Second Guessing Power Rankings!

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There’s a famous quote attributed to Sigmund Freud that’s used almost in equal measure as evidence that the founder of psychoanalysis was either a) a hypocrite; or b) someone with a sense of humor. Never mind that there’s an alarming lack of evidence to support that Freud ever said this famous phrase.

The legend is what’s important here, and the legend goes something like this: One day, Freud was informally lecturing a group of doctors on his theory of oral fixation when they began quietly laughing. Freud, annoyed at being interrupted, asked what was so funny about his idea. The snickering doctors replied that while he was explaining his theory on the first stage of psycho-sexual development, he was smoking a huge cigar in his mouth.

Depending on the motivation of the story teller, Freud either self-deprecatingly quipped or defensively suggested that:

Gentlemen, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

On Sunday, the Toronto Blue Jays announced that their manager for the past two seasons, John Farrell, was leaving the organization to become the new manager of the Boston Red Sox. As compensation for dissolving the last year of his contract with his previous club, the Red Sox sent infielder Mike Aviles to the Blue Jays in exchange for reliever David Carpenter.

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It seems as though the Red Sox, at long last, got their man in current (former) Blue Jays manager John Farrell. Farrell looks to succeed where established big league manager/acknowledged goofball Bobby Valentine could not.
Farrell comes to the Red Sox just as he came to the Toronto Blue Jays just two years ago: with an impressive pedigree, resume, and jawline but little in the way of actual on-field success. Is President Farrell the man to steer the troubled Red Sox out of the last place, in-fighting, tumultuous clubhouse morass of the last season plus one month?

Rarely will a man with less of a track record walk into the situation with expectations higher. Red Sox fans and, truthfully, the Red Sox front office are staking a lot on the fact that Farrell is Their Guy.

The Blue Jays receive Mike Aviles as compensation for losing their under-contract manager. The Jays send reliever David Carpenter to the Red Sox to sweeten the deal, ensuring their own satisfactory (?) return.

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The Boston Red Sox are in need of a manager for the 2013 season. They’ve been interviewing a number of candidates, but according to many on the Red Sox beat, the obscure object of the franchise’s desire is already gainfully employed with their division rival, the Toronto Blue Jays.

The accuracy of this is questionable. Certainly, it makes sense that the Boston front office would want to bring in someone familiar with the situations that are unique to the Red Sox, and as the team’s former pitching coach, John Farrell has this advantage. He has also gained further experience as the Major League skipper of another organization over the last couple of seasons. He’s a good candidate with a good pedigree. There’s no doubt.

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The Toronto Sun’s Steve Simmons is an all-sports columnist for what would generously be referred to as a poor Canadian man’s version of the New York Post. His writing typically deals more in the currency of petulance than knowledge or insight, and yet his glaring ignorance of all things baseball has never stood in the way of him expressing his poorly informed opinions on the sport with the bluster normally reserved for a relative you awkwardly attempt to avoid at family gatherings.

His latest column criticizes Toronto Blue Jays manager John Farrell for not creating a “real definition of who he or what he is as a big league manager or what he might be one day.” And just for good measure, Mr. Simmons also calls him out for not achieving the same level of success as Bob Melvin (“a magician in Oakland”); Robin Ventura (“changed the culture of the Chicago White Sox”); and Buck Showalter (“altered the mental outlook of the Baltimore Orioles”).

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