Fun-spongery is pretty much right there in the job description. Removing Ricky Romero just one out shy of a complete game shutout was a curious choice yet, even though my job is complaining loudly about the excruciating minutiae, I didn't find it that reprehensible.
Allow me to bust out a chronological timeline of my paraphrased feelings/sentiments as expressed on Twitter (if you don't follow, you should! My personal level of life satisfaction is directly proportional to my follower count.)
- When Farrell first came out for a mound visit, I was a little shocked. It was (I think) right after Ricky Roma made Jason Kubel look downright foolish. Romero then demo'd the concussed remnants of Justin Morneau. Romero looks good, why disrupt the rhythm?
- After a seeing-eye single by Delmon Young, Farrell brings out the hook. Romero looked a tad salty but didn't make a big production out of it. I admire his ability to balance competitive fire and leadership as making a scene when exiting the game with a lead is a little gauche.
- I begin my passive line of John Farrell defese - if Farrell left Romero in to face Cuddles (a lefty killer who handles changeups with aplomb) and Ricky gives up the lead, we'd kill him. We'd kill Cito for doing the same thing (Cito would've almost assuredly let Romero try to finish.)
- Farrell brings in "closer" Frank Frank to get Cuddyer. Francisco does his top-step-of-the-dugout routine and Ks Cuddyer - game over! Everybody's happy!
Perhaps John Farrell isn't the trailblazing revolutionary many of us pined for. Going to Francisco is the safe thing to do, both in a traditional baseball sense (ill-informed matchups!) and in an optics sense (insulated from criticism! Safety first!) Calling for Farrell's job or claims that yanking Romero hampers his development is impulsive at best and recklessly disingenuous at worst.
It isn't that big a deal, in my mind. Pulling Morrow earlier in the week remains the far greater disservice even if the goal (keep winning games!) is roughly the same.
Are we demanding too much of Farrell? How many hats is the field manager supposed to wear? Is the "informed" fan's view of this season as a bridge to future success really the responsibility of The Manager, a guy who already needs to balance so many different egos and agendas?
This is one instance I cannot summon too much ire for the choice. I don't see one batter at the tail end of a game as a real teachable moment - the costs of failure might just outweigh the benefits of success. It's a lot more complex than it seems and more complex than many fans assume, myself included.
While Parkes, Stoeten, and I spend a lot of time killing many of Farrell's questionable in-game moves, this is one I don't feel the need to assail. He made a safe choice, one I don't think will have repercussions beyond last night. He's the manager (not yet The Manager) and it's still just the middle of May. I think I can reserve ultimate judgment for a few weeks yet.