In Boston, it’s beginning to seem like old times. Another season ends in disappointment, another manager is shown the door. The 2012 iteration was by far the worst-performing Sox team in my lifetime, and may have turned the youth of Boston off of MLB for decades to come. As Ben Cherington begins his managerial search anew (theoretically with the decision-making powers he so clearly lacked in 2011), I would like to remind him of the words of advice I proffered in November of last year:
Sandy Alomar, Jr. gets my vote, and I really don’t have a second choice, at least not at the moment. I don’t care that he doesn’t have managerial experience, because I think oftentimes, that is overrated. He is a guy that was a bona-fide all-star in his time with Cleveland, and I think that’ll go a lot further with players in the clubhouse than who he has managed in the past. I’m hopeful that this simply isn’t something that they’re doing because they’re required to, but that he will be given a real chance at the job. I’d rather him make a name for himself as their skipper than to bring in a retread who wasn’t able to get the job somewhere else.
A couple of weeks later, I wrote that bypassing Sandy Alomar, Jr. might be a mistake that would come back to haunt the Red Sox. When I wrote that, I had no idea just how horrible the Sox would be in 2012 (I know how much of a thrill it gives Cleveland fans that the Indians nearly played even with the Sox this season), so I couldn’t anticipate that Bobby V. would find himself gone in less than one calendar year. In fact, I wrote exactly the opposite of that:
No matter who they hire, the Sox should improve on their 2011 performance simply because there is so much talent, and “new blood” might make the clubhouse a happier place.
That should have been true. Alas.
However, it does give the Red Sox an opportunity to correct a past mistake: they can now bring Sandy Alomar, Jr. in. Sure, they’re looking at other ‘new’ guys like Tim Wallach, then there’s the talk of John Farrell coming back to Boston (that’s not ever going to happen), and a host of other names that have been bandied about. I say no to all other options. With former Indian player and Sox manager Terry Francona accepting the offer to help rebuild that franchise, it frees Sandy Alomar, Jr. up to look for managerial employment elsewhere. Lord knows he could do better than Boston, but here’s hoping that the lure of a big-city team coming off of its worst record in 47 seasons will be enough to draw him to Beantown.
A guy like Alomar, Jr. shouldn’t be intimidated by the bright lights of Boston under any circumstance, but if he were to come to Boston, it would be the best possible moment for him to make that choice. The fan base’s expectation level is so low that if the 2013 Sox climb back to .500, it will be considered a monumental achievement. If they somehow were able to make it to the post-season (and why not, now that the Orioles have made it back), he might be instantly canonized. He’s someone that can connect with players, and especially those of Latin descent, because he has succeeded as a player, and in the not so distant past. He gets a chance to build his resume’ at worst, and the Sox have a chance to show that for just once, they can think outside of the box when it comes to important decisions. Not only that, but it sends a message that they are serious about building for the future. Bobby V. or any of the other retreads they interviewed last year was never a long-term solution, it was always about trying to snag another championship quickly to keep the pink-hat fans happy and thinking the Sox are cool. That’s out the window, now.
Now is the time to rebuild, and as long as that is what is going to occur, it may as well be done correctly. Cherington is still an unproven quantity, but he is allegedly bright, and soon enough, the Sox brass have to take the training wheels off. Now is that time, and then the next step is to bring in a manager that can win. Sandy Alomar, Jr. is that guy, here’s hoping he’s given the chance.
Who would you want to manage your favorite team?
Let me know:
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