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Cubs Hire Dale Sveum: How are the Red Sox Managing the Managing Dilemma?

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With Dale Sveum officially signing on as manager of the Cubs, the Red Sox managerial search continues to drag on. Boston has already interviewed Gene Lamont, Torey Lovullo, Pete Mackanin, and Sandy Alomar Jr. for the job. All of those candidates except for Mackanin appear to still be under consideration. And apparently Bobby Valentine is in the mix too.

With no big names seemingly available, it would not be unreasonable to be underwhelmed. Nevertheless, for a “world class organization” such as the Red Sox, why is this process appearing a little too similar to an American Idol-esque drama?

The Issue

While it would be understandable to be upset with Theo “I don’t give compensation” Epstein for signing Boston’s top target, it is far from necessary. Let’s be honest, if Sveum is such a baseball tactician, why was he only a third base/hitting coach and not already a manager?

What’s more disturbing is Ben Cherington’s inability to be anything but a puppet. The word on the street is that he wanted a newbie like Sveum, but ownership prefers a more  experienced manager. My only problem with these rumors is the fact that the Red Sox clearly have shown their desires for pushovers who let the smarties up in ownership take care of everything. Is ownership naive enough to think they can find a seasoned, veteran manager who will step aside when the brass wants to take control? Even I give them more credit to think more rationally than that.

Nevertheless, if Cherington is the GM, let him be the GM. The Red Sox may believe their guys are smarter than everyone else’s guys, but if that was the case the franchise wouldn’t be a total embarrassment at the moment. It’s no wonder they didn’t want to hire an outside GM who could actually bring a new perspective. This administration is too stubborn to listen to any advice that doesn’t put Carmine on a pedestal. Earth to the Red Sox front office: As condescending and arrogant as you believe yourselves to be, you have trotted out three consecutive jokes of a baseball team. I might be alone on this one, but perhaps now would have been a good time to try something new.

New Possibilities

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The latest we’re hearing is that Bobby Valentine is being considered for the job. Am I supposed to be excited? He’s never won anything and has a stupid last name, so I’m going to say no. He may be the biggest name available, but that doesn’t mean he’s necessarily the best. While, the no-name interviewees aren’t particularly impressive, neither was Francona, and now he is considered the best manager in Red Sox history.

My concern is how this organization appears to prospective players, coaches, executives, etc. How can you sell your team to a free agent when you can’t tell them who their boss is going to be? It’s unprofessional. And I do understand the Red Sox belief in picking the right guy. Just look at Francona. By selecting the right manager, the Red Sox had a consistent regime for eight years where the organization knew exactly what they could expect. There is no problem with wanting to replicate that.  In fact, it’s a great idea. (Why didn’t they just keep Francona then? The answer is beyond me. )

The Big Picture

I don’t have an issue with the length of time it has taken the Red Sox to find their new manager. What I do have a problem with is the drama that has come with it. This team is a mess. The collapse, the smear campaigns, the loss of Papelbon. It appears as if they can’t do anything right. The perception of Cherington having zero power can only make matters worse.

If ownership is going to run the show, that’s perfectly fine–I’m not morally against the idea of puppets in any sense of the word. But the system does have its flaws. A puppet show can only be successful if the people behind the strings know what they’re doing. And as of right now, the Red Sox organization seems to be tangled.

About Josh Segal

Josh Segal is a professional shock artist and trash talker. He also occasionally writes opinion pieces about the Red Sox, Patriots, Celtics, and their respective leagues at large. Segal is currently a junior at Kenyon College where he plans to double major in drama and political science. Apparently he also writes his own biographies in the third person.

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