Tuesday, one day before the Boston Red Sox take on the St. Louis Cardinals in the 2013 World Series, I read that Bobby Valentine reportedly told Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe that he could have reached the Fall Classic with the current roster of players. Then, I laughed so hard my head exploded.
Who does this guy think he is? Could someone truly be this delusional? Valentine refused to work with players, very important players (most notably David Ortiz). The Sox’s win record, under his tenure as manager, had not been that low since the 1960s. He brought no strategic expertise about creating a lineup to the Red Sox organization. Valentine never really prepared for baseball games. The 2012 Red Sox had no strategy, and thus no wins. Still, with his proven lack of skill, he believes that he could have helped the Sox go to the World Series. Some people just never change.
John Farrell made all the difference this year leading this team to a World Series berth. Rarely do you see a manager turn a team’s performance around in such quick fashion. The rebuilding year that the fans were expecting never happened. The Sox and Farrell did not meet fans’ low expectations; they exceeded them. The impossible became reality through Farrell’s ability to manipulate a lineup before and during the game. Also his knowledge of pitching, and the capability of the bullpen we have on hand are, simply put, priceless.
At the beginning of the season, if you ever told me that players like Mike Napoli, Mike Carp, Jonny Gomes, among others would all make news during any given day, I would have thought that you were crazy. Farrell provided opportunities for each and every player to shine on the field and at the plate. He leveraged player’s natural talents based on the play situations and the teams they were about to face. Sometimes Farrell’s decision-making left fans scratching their heads. What is this manager doing? Then, much to our surprise, our hands would leave our heads for applause, animated cheers, and high-fives.
The manager is there to facilitate wins, not bask in the spotlight. Farrell proved that the focus should be on the team, not the manager.
Bobby V, I hope you watch the World Series because you may just learn something about leadership and, oh yes, winning.