SF had his “long distance fight pick,” so now I will instigate one of my own: Will SF (and other members of RSN, and you all know who you are) give Terry Francona credit for leading the Sox amazing charge towards the playoffs? You’ve certainly layed into him for what have been perceived as his “mistakes”—his grace period lasted about two weeks. Let it be noted that I find SF a generally harsh critic of managers from all teams (the recent—and I think unwarranted—tirade over Maz is a good example of this).
In the 80s and early 90s, we Yankee fans were forced to sit through some truly dismal managing, culminating with the disastrous tenure of Stump Merrill. Then Buck Showalter arrived, and while there were certainly some decisions that seemed dubious (not to mention his refusal to take off his warmup jacket even on 100 degree August afternoons) we learned a simple but important lesson: you’re never going to agree with everything even the best manager does (sometimes you wonder if his plan is just not accessible to you; sometimes you think he’s just being foolish) but in the end you have to have a little faith and remember that baseball is a human game. With Torre, these lessons have become ingrained. Certainly, he makes some decisions that leave sabermetricians scratching their heads, but after 4 rings and all those wins, we’ve learned to trust him, forgive his faults, and go with the flow, even when the flow ain’t flowin’.
Can any Red Sox manager ever earn this degree of confidence? Will Terry ever get over the hump? Is a WS title the only solution?