October 23, 2012
John Farrell's disloyalty to Blue Jays shines throughManager shows his true colours during Boston press conference
By STEVE BUFFERY, QMI Agency
TORONTO - Turns out the rumours were true.
The man was just putting in time before his “dream job” opened up.
In listening to the John Farrell love-in at Fenway Park on Tuesday afternoon, one got the distinct impression that the Toronto Blue Jays just weren’t big-league enough for their former manager.
And if you’re Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos or president Paul Beeston, or just a fan, and you feel somewhat betrayed and marginalized by Farrell’s words of wisdom, well, that’s perfectly understandable.
Think about this. Anthopoulos awarded Farrell, the former Red Sox pitching coach, his first big-league manager gig two years ago — and Farrell turned around a year later and dropped the bombshell that, yes, if the possibility came up, he would like to get out of Dodge and move to Boston.
He did it after his first year in Toronto, and again after his second — a stunning lack of loyalty towards an organization that gave him his big break.
“The request (after year one) was denied in my conversations with Paul and Alex. I expressed to them at that time, ‘Yes, this (Boston) is a place that I cut my teeth as a major-league coach. We experienced a lot of success, had a lot of strong relationships that still exist.’ And I was very candid and honest with them,” said Farrell.
“And when it came up again this year on the heels of two very extensive days of conversations in a year-in-review, I expressed the same interest again. And fortunately all parties were able to work out this trade.”
Yeah, fortunately for him.
Convince me that this isn’t a kick in the teeth: Farrell informed his bosses at the end of each year in Toronto that he wanted to go somewhere else — but if that can’t be arranged, of course, he wants to keep his gig with the Blue Jays.
Disloyal? You think so? How about arrogant? Farrell talked about his conversation with Anthopoulos about the possibility of going to Boston a few weeks ago, and how AA apparently understood where he was coming from.
“Alex was very candid,” said Farrell. “And his analogy was that, you know what, he’s a guy from Montreal, and if Montreal Expos were still in play, and that opportunity opened up, it would be similar to that situation. So he understood it, and I thank him for that.”
Holy crap, apparently nobody wants be in Toronto!
Next, we’ll find out that Beeston wants move back to Welland!
Perhaps in retrospect Anthopoulos should have sent Farrell packing a year ago, the first time Mr. Loyalty expressed his wish to go to Boston. A manager whose heart is somewhere else is not good for anything. Of course, Farrell assured everyone on Tuesday that his private pining for Beantown did not affect how he ran the Jays the past two seasons.
So how were Anthopoulos and Beeston supposed to react with the ‘Boston or bust’ requests after his two years here? And how could they not harbour some resentment towards their manager?
Farrell talked about an incident when, after the first time he let it be known that he wanted to go to Boston, he walked into Beeston’s office and asked the Jays President: “Hey, are we good?”
In a perfect world, Beeston would have told him to go jump in the lake (or, more appropriately, Boston Harbour).
But what was Beeston supposed to say? “Oh yeah, we’re great. The minute the Red Sox job opens, I’ll book you a first-class ticket to Boston. But if you get a chance John, would you mind managing the Jays? Thanks an awful lot.”
Clearly, Farrell used the Toronto gig as a stepping stone. And in doing so, he put Anthopoulos and Beeston in a bind. Ultimately, they had to grant him his wish and let him go. Nobody would have blamed the Jays if they made Farrell honour the last year of his contract, but that probably would have poisoned the clubhouse next season. The players aren’t dumb. They likely sensed — with all the rumours swirling around about Farrell and the Red Sox, and the fact that Farrell never came out and said that he wanted to stay in Toronto — that their manager wanted to be in Boston.
How’s a manager supposed to convince his players to play hard and remain loyal to an organization when he wants out? The only thing worse than a lame duck manager, is a manager whose heart is not with his job.
You could tell from the second he opened his mouth at Tuesday’s Gushfest in Boston that Farrell was absolutely over the moon with getting the Red Sox gig.
In Toronto, he took a very corporate and guarded approach, at least in terms with his dealings outside of the clubhouse. Always professional, sure, but there was a real sense that he was just putting in time.
On Tuesday, with his buddy, Boston GM Ben Cherington, at his side, Farrell was practically bursting with excitement and gratitude, relief even, like he just escaped from a Siberian work camp.
“Boston is, in my mind ... is the epi-centre of the game,” Farrell said, adding that he was “humbled” to become the 45th manager of Red Sox. “The passion of this region, the energy that is in this ballpark every single night, I think, to a certain extent, that energy, and what people expect, holds our players accountable with the effort that they put out every single night.”
Apparently something was lost in translation this past season because much of the effort and energy the Boston players “put out every night” was directed more towards their mutinous uprising against manager Bobby Valentine. Evidently, Captain Bligh would have felt at home in the Red Sox clubhouse.
I don’t know about you, but Farrell’s words on Tuesday left a sour taste in my mouth.
Anthopoulos should be pissed (and I’d bet privately he is). AA has made some nice moves as a young GM, but there’s a valuable lesson in all of this. The next time he hires a guy to manage the Blue Jays, he’s got to hire someone who sincerely wants to be here, and is not using the organization as a stepping stone.
It says here that you’re not getting everything out of your manager if his heart is somewhere else. Farrell used the Jays as a stepping stone, and he stepped all over them.