Tuesday, October 23, 2012
This whole, sordid affair
I've seen a lot of words written from a lot of different folks saying they don't understand the sentiment, don't understand all the anger, can't figure out why so many of us are so twisted up about an underperforming manager who talked his way out of one job and into another.
I can't say that I'm one of those folks capable of pulling off such a nonchalant attitude about John Farrell begging his way out of Toronto and into his "dream job". I'm not saying that I'm right and they're wrong, far from it. In fact, I wish that I could be so dispassionate about a move that won't affect the club's future fortunes anywhere near as much the transactions that need to take place over the course of the upcoming winter will.
And taking it a step further - being logical and rational - why should I feel such bitter disappointment towards the departure of a man who, in hindsight, didn't appear to be a great fit with this team, in this time. Shouldn't I feel sympathetic to his plight? - the job he truly wanted was right there for his taking. A chance to "come home" and shine under the bright lights of one of baseball's biggest media markets, with only a year left on an unextended contract owed to a team he didn't really feel up to managing anymore - reporting to a front office who was probably just as happy to see him go - standing in his way?
So why the hard feelings?
Because fuck John Farrell, that's why.
Maybe it's because his hiring but two short (actually, brutally long) seasons ago represented more than just bringing on another field boss, pulling the same old strings, sitting in the same old corner of the dugout. Farrell wasn't supposed to be just another manager; he represented a new way of doing baseball business - a thinking man's manager, with a background in player development and a career of on-field experience to boot. And he left Boston for us! As the story goes, ol' Johnny boy turned down plenty of opportunities to pursue managerial positions, waiting for "the right one". And the "right one", said John, was the Blue Jays.
We were thrilled. Proud, even.
What a bunch of damn suckers he played us all for.
It was Boston all along for Farrell, and it feels like we should have known it. Two seasons spent cutting his teeth and learning on the job to prepare him for what he has always felt was his destiny. Hell, read the presser notes. He said almost exactly as much.
Or maybe it's because it feels like just another example of the big boys of the AL East pushing those little joke Blue Jays aside and taking what they wanted. That's the popular sentiment, isn't it? I don't know if that's the primary factor driving my slow burn, but it doesn't help. No tampering, huh Ben Cherington? I suppose the prolific amount of virtual ink spilled last offseason pre-Valentine and this month pre-trade were a mere coincidence. Yes, a coincidence, that must be all that was.
Or maybe - and this is the tough one, friends - maybe it's because this forces us to look yet again at the direction of the franchise and whether this really is or ever will come together. John Farrell was to be a big part of where this team was going. John Farrell is no longer a Blue Jay. The stable of young arms - Alvarez, Drabek, Hutchison, et al were supposed to compliment a terrific one-two in Romero-Morrow... and those young arms have either regressed or shredded. Young bats led by Lawrie, Rasmus and Arencibia were supposed to solidify the lineup... and not only has that yet to happen, but the team has to hope that the 2012 regression across the board was but a blip on the radar.
Maybe it's one of the above reasons. Maybe it's a little of column A, a little of column B. Perhaps it's all of it thrown into a blender. Very likely it's at least in part an overreaction by fans (like this one) with an emotional over-investment in the Toronto Blue Jays.
One thing is certain: the fanbase is rattled - a good chunk of it, anyway. Paul Beeston and Alex Anthopoulos are left with the unenviable task of rebuilding that confidence over the course of the winter ahead, which will necessarily have to be a full reversal of course from the offseason past.
And it will have to be without John Farrell.
Fuck him, anyway.