NOV. 6 OFF THE MARK COLUMN — MARK SPENSLEY, CO-PUBLISHER
In following this year’s World Series matchup between the Boston Red Sox and St. Louis Cardinals, the central battle cry for the Red Sox centered around their “Boston Strong” theme, a carry over from the horrific Boston Marathon bombings.
If ever there was a fan favorite, I’m guessing they pulled in a few extra fans to their corner. And, no it wasn’t the beards.
As a fan of baseball, what intrigued me more than their rallying battle cry was how their new manager, John Farrell, took a team with a 69-93 record, thus finishing in last place in 2012, and turned them into World Series Champions.
This version of the Red Sox was undeniably head and shoulders above last year’s team. I know, that’s a no-brainer statement. And early expectations for this team had to be on the low end of the spectrum.
Proof of this was season ending attendance figures showing 200,000 less fans were in attendance this season. I’m assuming these figures were a result of the lack of early season expectations.
So what happened to this team? In comparing rosters from last year to this year, key players no longer with the team include 1B Adrian Gonzalez, SS Mike Aviles, OF Cody Ross and SP Josh Beckett and closer Alfredo Aceves.
Those guys were replaced with 1B Mike Napoli, SS Stephen Drew, OF Shane Victorino, SP Craig Breslow and closer Koji Uehara.
In a quick comparison on paper, to me last year’s team was statistically better. In post World Series interviews, players credited the coaching staff bringing in a new approach to the game and getting the players to buy into this approach.
Which leads me to my point. If indeed the coaching staff was the big difference maker, and I believe it was, then the Cubs better hire Red Sox bench coach Torey Lovullo.
The Cubs are expected to interview Lovullo this week and announce Dale Sveum’s replacement this week as well.