Saturday, July 03, 2004

Kidnap Piniella

Francona might be on drugs. That's the only way I could understand why he's telling the Sox that they're "f***ing great."

I'd have to admit that I never really wanted them to get rid of Grady. Grady had some... well, weird methods. But in the end he got them pretty damned far, and just sorta screwed up in the end. Yeah, he screwed up fairly badly, but he at least GOT them to the play-offs. Francona simply isn't going to get them there, at least not the way he's been managing.

I think that the problem with Francona is that he's too much of a players' friend guy. He hasn't really gotten past the stage where he used to play baseball, he still identifies with the players and he is going to rather play the role of friendly comrade than drill sergeant manager. And this is a real problem, because if he keeps on telling them they're "f***ing great" after lost games, then they aren't going to be trying any harder. He's giving them this illusion that they are playing well. And even if they know they aren't playing well, subconsiously they will no doubt take this in and believe it. People like to get approval.

The Front Office needs to realize this. Francona would be better as a first base coach, he isn't manager material. He would probably be better off as a bench coach, even.

So who should they hire as a manager?

Lou Piniella.

Now, the thing is, Piniella is probbaly not going to want to leave his pride and joy (a.k.a. the freakishly good Devil Rays) behind. So we're going to have to resort to drastic measures: kidnap him. Or, we could just give Vince Naimoli (Devil Rays manager, for those of you who are not Devil Ray-savvy) some big-name loser (hmm, Nomar, possibly?), and maybe some random players in the minor league system who hail from Florida (they don't need to be very good either --- they just need to be from Florida), and he would probably happily hand over Piniella. It could be the first manager trade in MLB. After all, if Naimoli sees that these random prospects are from Florida, he'll probably wet his pants from excitement.

Piniella is like a modern-day shaman. He's really turned the Devil Rays around. And, hey, if he can improve a team like the Devil Rays, then he should be able to handle the Red Sox. The Devil Rays don't really have amazing players, but he's managed to get them all working and has ended up with a team that's been shocking everybody lately. So, in theory, if we give him a team that has more talent, he should be able to transform them into World Series winners. The Devil Rays have been playing very well as of late, and they are only three games behind the Sox. If they continue at the rate they're travelling at, and the Sox continue at their horrible rate, the Devil Rays are going to beat out the Sox for second place. Scary. And with Francona continuing to manage the Sox, and Piniella continuing to manage the Rays, I would not be at all shocked if this were to happen.

So the answer is: kidnap Piniella, get rid of Francona, and let Sox fans bask in the warm, cheerful feeling of having a good manager.

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