BOSTON — If the Indians can defeat the Rays on Wednesday, thus setting up an ALDS matchup between Cleveland and Boston, the stories will practically write themselves.
At the heart of it all will be the managerial matchup. Terry Francona, winner of two World Series during his time with the Red Sox, will face his long-time friend and former pitching coach, John Farrell, who is in the midst of a tremendous first season as Boston’s skipper. The level of intrigue would be surpassed only by the amount of respect that the two managers have for one another.
“There’s a of quality and talented people over there [in Cleveland], and to see it come together with a chance to advance after tomorrow night, I think because you have past experiences with many people, you want the best for them,” Farrell said Tuesday. “There would be an incredible amount of side stories if we do meet up with them in the division series, and in some ways, it’s reminiscent of the ALCS in ’07. There’s so much crossover that still exists between people that have worked, either starting in Cleveland and then coming here and now it’s in some ways reversed with Tito going back there and leading their team. Hopefully, we’ve got a chance to meet up.”
While Farrell clearly wouldn’t mind going up against an old friend, he later said that he doesn’t have a preference when it comes to who wins Wednesday’s all-important wild card game. Farrell — who sent Francona a congratulatory text following the Indians’ win Sunday, but has since had minimal contact with the Cleveland manager — said that he’ll sit back, watch the game and anticipate how he might handle certain situations.
Wednesday’s contest, obviously, is of great interest, with the winner arriving in Boston for the start of the ALDS on Friday. But even if the Red Sox weren’t fortunate to still be playing, Farrell would have his eyes glued to the television. It’s part of being a baseball fan, first and foremost.
“Every year. Even those years when you’re on the outside looking in, personally, I have a strong interest in the game and to see how things unfold and what decisions are made base on certain things that come up in a game,” Farrell said. “You think along the game as it’s happening, even though you might not be there.”
Francona and the Indians need to take care of business in Cleveland on Wednesday to make sure that everything comes full circle. If they do, we should be in store for an interesting week of baseball.
It’s funny how these things just seem to work out.