John Farrell a good marketing move because it’s a good hire
October 29, 2010
The appointment of John Farrell as the new manager of the Toronto Blue Jays is a good marketing move simply because it’s a good hire, according to the consensus of Major League Baseball insiders.
Despite his status as a first-time Major League Baseball manager, it’s a case of solid substance meeting great marketing and giving the Blue Jays a positive new spin going into the off-season and the lead-in to the 2011 American League campaign in the tough AL East alongside the New York Yankees, Tampa Bay Rays and Boston Red Sox (and the cellar-dwelling Baltimore Orioles).
Farrell, a 48-year-old former Major League Baseball pitcher, succeeds Cito Gaston, who retired after the season (closing out his second stint with the Jays after leading them to back-to-back World Series championships in 1992 and 1993 during his first stint).
The former pitching coach for the Boston Red Sox was introduced at an afternoon news conference on Monday, ending a week’s speculation that he would indeed be the successful candidate. Last Sunday, Red Sox owner John Henry – busy not only as a Major League Baseball club owner but also with his recent acquisition of Liverpool FC of the Barclays English Premier League – directly intervened in the Farrell move, confirming in an e-mail to the Boston Globe that Farrell would indeed be going to Toronto.
Farrell was director of player development for the Cleveland Indians for five years before serving the Red Sox as their pitching coach the past four seasons (including during their second World Series championship in four years in 2007). He was a major league pitcher over eight seasons up to and including 1996 with Cleveland, California and Detroit.
Many commentators described Farrell as “one of the most respected men in baseball”. He declined several previous job offers to stay with the Red Sox but did agree to pursue the opportunity to manage the Blue Jays. It will present many opportunities each year for Farrell to line up against his friend and former manager, Terry Francona. Francona called Farrell loyal and respectful this week and openly admitted that “Toronto just got better”.
Among those who agree is Boston Red Sox veteran Jason Varitek, who told ESPN.com: “People probably don’t understand the value of having that ability to solidify a game plan and do those things, and keep things where they’re at. We were lucky to be able to keep him in that organization.”
When asked what kind of manager Farrell would make, Varitek said: “He’s a great pitching coach. He has a high respect and vision for the game. For him, it’s a bigger step up rather than just dealing with pitchers. He has to deal with hitters now, too. (But) as well respected as he is around the game, with everything he does, (I’m) not in the least bit (surprised he got the job in Toronto).”
The marketing advantages to the Blue Jays include Farrell’s pedigree with the Boston Red Sox and one of the most storied brands in all of sport, let alone baseball. His background as a pitching coach nicely complements the up-and-coming Jays pitching staff and the home run power the Toronto club showed in a record-setting 2010. It also jives well with the increasing emphasis on promoting pitching and defence at the Major League Baseball level.
From his opening media conference, it is also apparent that Farrell will be a great quote and give strong consideration to all of his dealings with the media.
TheSportMarket.biz with files from ESPN.com.