I’ve spent the best part of my time writing for Dirty Water News being glib and sarcastic, fishing for a laugh or a frustrated nod of acquiescence from fellow Red Sox fans.
Right now, I could write a piece about the front office’s infrastructure implosion. Larry Lucchino is retiring at the end of the season. Owner John Henry has appointed Detroit’s former GM Dave Dombrowski as president of baseball operations—his best move in years, by the way—and Ben Cherington, a guy who made a mud-mess of the major league roster, is stepping down.
But the real story, the one that matters, lies with manager John Farrell.
After surgery for a hernia, Farrell, 53, was diagnosed with stage 1 lymphoma, a highly curable form of cancer. It is the same cancer that former-Red Sox ace Jon Lester battled and beat in 2006, making a heart-warming comeback and winning the final game of the 2007 World Series then tossing a no-hitter in 2008.
Still, the news about Farrell was stunning and sobering for players and fans, alike.
This also comes at a time when NESN and WEEI are doing their annual Jimmy Fund fundraiser for children battling cancer, perhaps the most charitable act in all of professional sports. The Red Sox connection with the Jimmy Fund dates back to the era of Ted Williams and it continues to be an eminent partnership, raising millions of dollars for kids and helping move society toward a cure for one of man’s deadliest diseases.
I’ve been ripping the 2015 Boston Red Sox in these articles, up one side and down the other, since Opening Day. My sarcasm often blends with abrasion when I take my safe seat behind the keyboard. But baseball is a game, make no bones; baseball not important the grand scheme of things.
Human beings and the sanctity of their lives are important. Our collective effort to make this rotten world better with kindness and empathy is truly important.
John Farrell has not been a great baseball manager for the Red Sox, but who cares? He is a human being with a family and friends and people who care about him outside of the dugout. And, right now, our concern as fans should be the man’s well-being, not the team’s record or the fact they are in last place.
Red Sox former manager—and perhaps their greatest—now Cleveland’s skipper Terry Francona showed us all how this is done by attending his former pitching coach’s first treatment of chemotherapy when he was in town for the series. Francona was always a class-act, and we should learn from that lesson of friendship and unselfishness.
So before I return to my usual snarky commentary, I want to take a little space to wish John Farrell the best of luck in his recovery.
And maybe we should all take a second to watch the stories of those courageous kids fighting cancer in the Jimmy Fund telethon. We should all take a moment to appreciate what we have, and what—at any given moment—can be taken.
Get well, John Farrell.