Dear John Farrell,
It’s not you, it’s me.
Actually, I’m not going to sugarcoat this. It is totally you, and, as a Red Sox fan, I think it’s time that we start seeing other people.
These letters are never easy to write, and I write this with a heavy heart. We’ve had some beautiful memories together. But it’s time, John.
Remember when we met? You were the pitching coach in 2007, standing beside Tito in the dugout with your arms folded on your chest. Josh Beckett was absolutely filthy that postseason, and The Big Schill—before setting his sights on taking down Rhode Island and Elizabeth Warren—was still lurking around. Jon Lester came back from cancer and won the last game of The World Series, and Clay Buchholz threw a no-no in his second career start. Speaking of Clay, I saw that he was out for the season in Philly, after posting a lights-out 12.21 ERA. Shocking, I know.
Hell, even Dice-K wasn’t terrible in 2007—though insufferably slow and boring to watch—and Papelborn, while an inveterate douche, was tremendous.
And there you were, John, fresher-faced and slimmer, standing so regal. There was nothing not to love about you. And you helped bring that second ring. But things have changed. As the Mexican painter Frida Kahlo said, “Nothing is absolute, John [I added “John”]. Everything changes, everything moves, everything revolves, everything flies and goes away.”
It’s time to go away, John.
Yes, John, I was upset when you left and went to Toronto but I waited for you to return. Hell, I had to sit through a season of Bobby Valentine, staring at a tear-soaked picture of you.
Then you returned. You came back, John! And you managed a team that won a third World Series in less than a decade. After 86 years of proverbial blue balls, we were experiencing an abundance of riches.
But if we’re going to take a sober inventory of that season, the 2013 Red Sox had no business winning the World Series that year. It was one of those sports’ stories that feels scripted: After the atrocities of the Boston Marathon bombing, the city banded around a team that coalesced at the right time. They won a World Series on soul and grit, and it was awesome.
Still, does this explain away your inability to understand the double-switch in the World Series? Did this validate you, after two atrocious years in Toronto, as a viable in-game manager?
John, those questions are rhetorical. The team won in spite of you. You had veterans in that clubhouse who carried that team, starting with the guy whose book just came out, where he rips Bobby V.
But then the Red Sox became cellar-dwellers for the next two seasons, last place in the AL East for two consecutive years. But you were able to ride the World Series buzz all the way until last season when you won the division before being out-played and out-coached by Francona. And, listen, I won’t get into the off-field struggles and scandals you’ve endured. I could care less.
But it’s time for us to part, John.
This team, the 2017 Red Sox, might be the dullest, most uninspiring group of talented wet rags ever assembled. Sans Chris Sale, watching these games are mind-numbing. Sometimes, I’ll be watching a game in my basement and consider going upstairs to watch an episode of The Real Housewives of New York with my wife, instead. There’s no spark, no verve.
No, John, you can’t make a team play well but you can inspire them. You can hold them to the flame. I understand that the players love you, respect you, and consider you one of them. But I can also tell you, from my experiences as a parent, that doesn’t work.
John, I’ll miss you and think of you fondly (sometimes), but it’s time. You need to get fired and leave. And don’t think of us. Don’t look back. Don’t let the door hit you.
With my deepest regards,
A Red Sox fan