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October 3, 2011 at 9:15 AM

Intriguing days in the Boston Red Sox manager search

In case you missed it, here are the results of our paper’s reader poll on the best baseball movie of all-time.
We’ve seen over the past week just how demanding it can be to work in the Boston baseball marketplace. Terry Francona could have managed his team to a third World Series title this year had a few things bounced his way.
Instead, he’s now out of a job. GM Theo Epstein might soon leave the team as well, according to the latest reports.
Francona’s predecessor? That would be Grady Little, who came within five outs of going to the World Series in 2003, only to stick with starter Pedro Martinez a little too long in the famed Aaron Boone Game 7 of the ALCS.
Yes, the bar is raised pretty high in Beantown.
The folks in Boston are speculating about who will take over for Francona. It’s a lot like the New York speculation about how it’s inevitable any player in the top 10 percentile of league talent will make his way to the Yankees via free agency or forcing a trade.
You have guys like Joe Maddon being mentioned. The same Maddon whose Tampa Bay team looks like a favorite to advance to the World Series this year. Why would he go to Boston, again? Oh yeah, because it’s Boston. Or, so the thinking goes.
Eric Wedge, you might notice, is on the list as well. Is he going to go all Lane Kiffin on the Mariners after only one season? That’s highly doubtful. In fact, it’s not going to happen. Wedge has built a reputation as a lunchpail work ethic type of guy who finishes what he starts. If he bolted now, just one season into another complete teardown/rebuild of the Mariners, he’d be exposed as one of the bigger frauds of all-time.
Photo Credit: AP

That’s not going to happen. So, sleep easy. If any onetime M’s manager is going to take over the Red Sox, it’ll be Don Wakamatsu. But again, that might not happen. Wakamatsu’s handling of the whole Ken Griffey Jr. situation and his clubhouse’s descent into anarchy in 2010 in Seattle will likely be held against him.
If Red Sox pitchers really are drinking beer in the clubhouse on non-pitching days, that team will need more of a Jim Riggleman type of iron fist. Too bad Riggleman’s strong-willed ways will likely be held against him as well.
But the Red Sox need a warden, not a teacher, right now. That’s why tough guy/teacher Wedge is being mentioned (he’d let Boston have it both ways, clamping down first, then “teaching”). Again, it won’t happen. Red Sox or not, people aren’t going to throw away their reputations to go work in Boston. This isn’t college football, where teams can bribe coaches away with money piles. Kiffin got $4 million per year to leave Tennessee for USC after only one year and very little on his coaching resume other than scandal.
That’s about the same annual money Joe Torre got to go to the Los Angeles Dodgers after being one of the most successful managers of all-time with the Yankees.
Wedge is no Torre. The money won’t be good enough to make him consider destroying his image west of the Ohio River.
Sleep tight.



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