I think it’s wonderful Tito has a new job with Cleveland. The idea of him being back with Justin Masterson is too adorable for words. That said, I don’t look forward to all of the lamenting over his not being the Red Sox manager every time the Sox play Cleveland next year (or any time the Indians play on national television). I know the horrible season the Red Sox had this year makes it difficult for fans to build that bridge and get over 2011, I really wish some would at least try.
When it was announced that the Red Sox were firing Bobby Valentine, I had two reactions: relief and sadness. I was relieved that the deed was done because there was a large part of me convinced that they were going to let him work through his entire contract and I would not have been able to bear another season of it. But I was sad not only because it’s tough to watch anyone lose their job (especially in a very public “Good God you sucked and we’re all so glad you’re gone” way) but also because I don’t hold him solely responsible for the 2012 debacle. Much like when the Red Sox let Tito go, though, something needed to be done. Of course, after they let Tito go and I had hope for more substantial and positive changes, they hired Bobby Valentine so right now I’m not even cautiously optimistic that they’ll head in the right direction this time…but I’m hoping.
I absolutely reject the idea that Bobby’s failure in Boston means firing Tito was the wrong decision. I get that Tito was great for this team and without him I truly believe 2004 and 2007 don’t happen. But I believe without Johnny Damon 2004 doesn’t happen and without JD Drew 2007 doesn’t happen…those teams won because of the makeup of the entire team, not just one person…and that includes Tito. Five years have passed since 2007. In 2008, the team lost a hard-fought LCS in game 7 against the Tampa Bay Rays. In 2009 they were swept out of the LDS by the Angels and they haven’t been in the playoffs since. While the majority of 2011 was an amazing season for the Sox, they still failed miserably in the end. As the saying goes, you can’t fire the entire team so where do you make the change? The manager. Just because they chose the wrong manager to replace Tito doesn’t mean replacing him was the wrong decision.
Which is why all the fans who are mourning over Cleveland and not Boston hiring Tito make me bang my head. I am a true believer in not going back. When things are over, they’re over. Tito’s time in Boston was great. In 9 seasons he led the team to two championships and a total of seven playoff appearances. There is nothing that takes away from that, not even his losing his job. I genuinely wish nothing but the best for Tito…but I wish it from afar. Regardless of who the manager is, I hope the Red Sox beat his Indians every time they play against each other and, aside from that, I hope his team does well in 2012.
As far as Bobby V goes, I wish him well too. I don’t think he’s a bad guy at all, I just think he was the wrong guy. My focus right now isn’t on who is managing the Indians, it’s on who will be managing the Red Sox in 2012. Bobby is gone, Tito is gone, let’s bring on the new manager and stop living in the past.