On Thursday, less than 12 hours after the final Toronto Blue Jays regular season game, the Rogers Centre turf was being lifted up.
Next spring, when the grounds crew sets up for baseball again, John Farrell deserves another chance to be charting the course in the dugout.
For the Blue Jays manager, there’s only one more year on his contract. That’s one more year to smile and bear the brunt of the blame for a ship that sometimes appears to be driven off course by dumb luck.
Every man deserves to be well-equipped to fight his battles.
Surely, Farrell didn’t plan for a sophomore slump.
Surely, he didn’t predict he’d have his starting rotation dismantled by injury, barely two months into the season.
Surely, no one told him that by the all-star break, he’d be managing the roster of the Las Vegas 51’s.
For those uncontrollables, Farrell isn’t to blame. A lack of depth at the Triple-A level can’t be the manager’s fault. The man at the helm could wait for the trade deadline, and see no reinforcements added to his roster.
Farrell didn’t strain the oblique of Brandon Morrow. He didn’t request, even kindly, that three of his pitchers head in to Dr. Andrews for Tommy John surgery.
Please, sir. We’ll take three.
But in the final weeks of the season, the most glaring warning signals went off. Signs that there may be more to the ongoing problems in the organization than meets the eye.
After all, the most dangerous part of the iceberg is what lies beneath the surface.
Shortstop Yunel Escobar took the field with a homophobic slur written on his eyeblack. Farrell said the letters were small. If someone in the clubhouse had seen it, they would have said something. There can’t be a problem with homophobia in sports.
Days later, Omar Vizquel told the Toronto Sun that the culture in the clubhouse didn’t hold young players accountable for their repeated mistakes.
The veteran, brought to the club to fulfill a utility role on the field, and a leadership one off the field, had nothing good to say about the guidance in the clubhouse.
He didn’t mention Farrell’s name, but he didn’t have to. Vizquel later apologized for his comments.
Certainly they were unwarranted from someone meant to provide a mentorship role to the very players who were making the mistakes.
Similarly, if Farrell is indeed still on the radar of the Boston Red Sox, who have fired Bobby Valentine from the captain’s chair, these late-season mistakes don’t look good on a resume.
The Blue Jays knew that Farrell had 10 years of big league pitching under his belt when they sought out his services.
They knew he’d been the pitching coach for the Red Sox since 2006, a valuable insight into their foes in the East. They knew that he had never managed before, whether at a major or minor league level.
However, Farrell must surely deserve a chance to correct his course at the helm of a ship that isn’t flooding from a dozen leaks.