Oct 8, 2013; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell (53) prior to game four of the American League divisional series against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Can’t Have The Good Without The Bad


There’s an old saying: “Every dark cloud has a silver lining”.

In recent weeks, there has been an emergence of a popular theory about the amazing 2013 Red Sox season. The belief is that the Red Sox were able to rediscover their old mojo after enduring 13 months of misery from September 2011 to October 2012.

October 3, 2012; Bronx, NY, USA; Boston Red Sox third baseman Pedro Ciriaco (left) talks with manager Bobby Valentine (right) during batting practice before a game against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Though chemistry was definitely evident for this 2013 squad and absent the previous two seasons, it’s not necessarily the lone reason for success. It’s also not a necessity for success. There have been plenty of bad teams throughout the history of sports that featured players who all got along splendidly. On the contrary, there have been some teams that enjoyed great success despite having players who couldn’t stand one another (Ex: The “Bronx Zoo” Yankees of the late 70s and the Barry Bonds/Jeff Kent Giants).

That being said, it did take a whole lot of misery for Ben Cherington to ultimately decide to shake things up. Had the Sox been a .500 club in 2012, the big deal with the Dodgers doesn’t happen. There’s also a really good chance that Bobby Valentine is given another year to right the ship. But because that season went so terribly, Cherington did make that big trade and Valentine was fired. We all know what Cherington did with his new found financial flexibility.

After being unsuccessful in acquiring John Farrell in the 2011-2012 offseason, Cherington was able to get his man the second time around. The biggest reason they weren’t able to get Farrell in the first try was the issue of compensation. Had they gotten Farrell the first try, they would’ve had to depart with a bigger compensation package (I believe they were asking for Clay Buchholz initially). Though Buchholz did miss a good three months, he did go 12-1 and his hot start played a big part in setting the pace for 2013.

It’s also safe for all of us fans to say that we definitely appreciate this season even more because September 2011 and all of 2012 were so painful to endure.

This brings me to another euphoric time in Red Sox history that was even more enjoyable because of the heartbreak of the season before.

Would the 2004 World Series Championship have been as special if not for the infamous Grady Little/Aaron Boone ending to 2003?

That comeback was all the more satisfying because of having to endure yet another crushing blow at the hands of the Yankees. It was just more motivation for the Sox to complete that amazing comeback the following year. It was also necessary that Little make that one fatal mistake to motivate management to replace him with Terry Francona. Though it ended badly for Francona in Boston, he was the right guy for that period of time.

The “What if” game is subjective in regards to what each of us thinks might’ve happened in the previously mentioned scenarios. But we can all agree that we appreciate the good times more because of the bad times which preceded it.

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Tags: Boston Red Sox

  • http://bosoxinjection.com/ Earl Nash

    Who knows how much Francona’s deteriorating marriage effected him and the last weeks of that pennant race…

    • John Fahrer

      That’s a possibility. But his marriage was also on the rocks when things were going well for the club as well.

      Another big thing that hurt Francona in the end: he could be too loyal to proven players from time to time. He wouldn’t pull a struggling pitcher in time or bench a slumping hitter in some key situations. His greatest intangible as a “player’s manager” was also his Achilles Heel.

      • http://bosoxinjection.com/ Earl Nash

        Excellent point. One of the key factors to consider when hiring a manager.

        • John Fahrer

          He also really missed having Brad Mills and John Farrell around. Both were very good at preventing the inmates from running the asylum.

          Probably why both guys wound up getting their own managerial gigs elsewhere. Farrell wasn’t terrible nor great in Toronto but has done well in Francona’s former gig. Mills had a terrible run in Houston. But that was probably more due to the talent he had. He could still get a second chance down the road.