The 2012 Boston Red Sox season could be summed up in one word, trainwreck.
Other words to describe that season could be painful, disgusting, pathetic and unlikeable. You probably get the point by now. GM Ben Cherington knew what he had to do and proceeded to basically blow his team up, from the manager right down to the players. Absolutely the right move, because what he has built has been remarkable.
Start with the manager that Cherington wanted to bring in all along, John Farrell. Farrell has taken a clubhouse that was part of a ridiculous sideshow and made winning and playing quality baseball the priority. He also has stayed out of the limelight, been loyal to his players and doused any fires that came along. Yes, Alfredo Aceves, that was a reference towards you. Cherington made the decision to acquire a lot of what can be best described as character guys. Guys like Shane Victorino, David Ross, Mike Napoli, Koji Uehara, Ryan Dempster and Jonny Gomes, who while they play the game well and are great in the clubhouse, they weren’t a sexy free-agent signing like a Josh Hamilton or a Zack Greinke. Many fans of Red Sox Nation cried and whined that Boston was going to be terrible again with all these mediocre, slightly overpaid players.
Turns out Red Sox Nation really needed to check themselves before they wreck themselves. Cherington is a genius and should be Executive of the Year, no matter how the Red Sox season ends. While none of the players that came in this year have been MVP candidates, what they have done is brought passion, energy and chemistry to a team that very badly needed it. You can tell that this is a team that is very close and loose and those are traits that you need to play and succeed in the high demands of Boston. They never give up, they grind every at bat, they work the counts and never give up, even with two outs in the ninth inning. They love to play baseball and it shows in everything they do. There is a reason why they have 11 walk-off wins as of August 1o, just two wins away from a franchise record. They play until they are told not to. A far cry from the 2012 crew that had twice the star power but none of the heart. The Dirt Dogs are back.
How far will this team go? Will they win the World Series or can they even clinch a playoff spot? They could use one more right-handed bat with power and another arm in the bullpen certainly wouldn’t hurt. However, when everything is all said and done, this season can already be considered a huge success. They already have more wins that they did all last year. They have had many amazing comebacks and won some games they had no business winning. Most importantly, the Red Sox have reconnected with their fan base and become a team that Red Sox Nation can root for and fall in love with. Nothing was expected of this team this year and whatever they accomplish has to be considered a huge success. Not bad for what was basically considered a bridge year. Cherington really knew what he was doing in building this team and Farrell knows what he is doing running it.
From worst to first. Well done, Mr. Cherington and Mr. Farrell. Well done.