Red Sox fans expect a lot from their team and they expect even more of its manager.
Having spent four seasons as Boston's pitching coach, John Farrell is no stranger to the expectations. And it's because he's no stranger in these parts that fans don't seem to be lowering those expectations even after a disastrous year.
"I assume they'll make the playoffs. It's fair to expect it," said Jason Saphire who stopped at the Cask 'n Flagon for lunch with his father yesterday. "It's fair to expect them not to be in last place with this team."
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While the two waited for their meals yesterday afternoon, the Red Sox were introducing Farrell as the team's new manager just next door at Fenway Park. Former manager Bobby Valentine was fired after one year of leading the team, which finished last in the division.
Controversy over apparently strained relationships between the players and Valentine set the tone for a pretty miserable baseball season this year.
Saphire, a season ticket holder for eight years, said yesterday that he didn't pay much attention to this past mess of a season and that his faith had diminished.
"I think most people saw the Valentine year as an experiment," he said. "I think I kind of lost faith when they weren't going to make the playoffs. It was harder for me to follow."
Other Sox fans were expecting less of Farrell and more of the team.
"I hope he can hit home runs," joked Ryan Webby, a 21-year-old Fenway resident, as he walked by Fenway Park. "I hope he's just on the same page with the players."
Webby said he was confident the team "on paper" could win the World Series next year under Ferrell.
However, everyone in Red Sox Nation was not feeling the same way. Russ Rand put his faith in the team at a "7 or 8-ish" out of 10.
"I'm happy with the move," he said, adding, "as long as the team seems happy about it."
One we’d like to forget
The Red Sox are hoping yesterday’s introduction of John Farrell as the team’s 46th manager ushers in a new, better era for the organization.
The catastrophic collapse of the Red Sox began late in the 2011 season when the team blew a nine game wild card lead in September, lost 20 of their final 27 games and missed the playoffs.
The off-season was not time to rest for the Sox organization as the Globe reported that players, specifically Josh Beckett, John Lackey and Jon Lester would eat fried chicken and drink beer in the clubhouse during games.
After a strained relationship with former manager Bobby Valentine, longtime Red Sox Nation favorite Kevin Youkilis was traded in July, only darkening the rain cloud that seemed to follow the team.
The team failed to make the playoffs in 2012, its worst season in decades.