In the heat of postseason defeat it’s easy to blame a coach or a manager.
That’s prototypical of Boston, where championship expectations have surrounded our professional sports teams since Super Bowl XXXVI, when this outstanding run of excellence started.
Perhaps nobody has taken more heat in The Hub over the last few years than Red Sox manager John Farrell.
Manager John and the Local Nine were bounced Monday from the American League Division Series by Houston, losing to the powerful Astros in four games.
The Sox were six outs away from sending the series back to Texas, but Chris Sale and Craig Kimbrel ran out of gas.
It didn’t take long for the #FireFarrell hashtags to creep up on social media pages of Sox fans throughout New England.
A short memo: Just stop.
Let’s remember that Farrell has led the Sox to three division titles and a World Series, the 2013 championship coming on the heels of the Bobby Valentine disaster.
Let’s remember that Farrell courageously beat cancer a couple years ago.
Does he make questionable decisions sometimes? Of course. What coach or manager doesn’t? A lot of Patriots fans weren’t happy with Bill Belichick at the end of the 2015 season when his conservative ways – remember him electing to kick off to the Jets in overtime – cost the Pats home-field advantage? I still say if that AFC Championship game had been in Foxboro, the Patriots would’ve played in Super Bowl 50, not Denver.
Farrell has skippered this young band of Red Sox to consecutive 90-win seasons and division titles, the latter of which coming in a year when David Price was banged up and Rick Porcello didn’t look like the 2016 version who won a Cy Young. Dustin Pedroia and Hanley Ramirez played hurt virtually the entire year.
Farrell also saved Pedroia from getting ejected in Game 4 against Houston when Pedroia looked at a controversial third strike that had the second baseman fuming. Any sign of a great manager is one who sticks up for his players, especially in a game of this magnitude.
The Astros were simply a better team. They have power up and down their lineup, something the Sox sorely missed when David Ortiz retired after last season. A power bat should be Farrell and Dave Dombrowski’s top objective this offseason.
Houston, like the Red Sox in 2013, is also playing for its city, which was devastated by Hurricane Harvey. The Sox won one for their city four years ago in the wake of the Boston Marathon terrorist attacks, and since the Texans and Rockets likely won’t sniff championship parades this season, I hope the Astros bring one home for their city.
Red Sox Nation is an understandably rabid fanbase, and the anti-Farrell social media remarks remind me of the way University of Maine hockey fans were super critical of former coach Tim Whitehead.
Like Farrell in Boston, Whitehead had success in Orono, taking UMaine to four Frozen Fours and two national championship games, both of which the Bears could have won had it not been for controversial calls in each game.
With a fully healthy Price and Pedroia, arguably the best defensive outfield in the game and Chris Sale heading into his second year in Boston, expectations will again be high for the Red Sox in 2018.
It would help if Sox fans had a little faith in their manager the way they do in their team. Remember, Grady Little and Valentine could still be occupying the Fenway corner office.