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Welcoming Farrell

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Baseball managers are hired to be fired, as the saying goes. And in Boston it also guarantees you'll be grilled, broiled, sliced, diced, and fried along the way. Presumably John Farrell, who is a college-man as well as the 46th field-manager of your Boston Red Sox, entirely understands all that.

Farrell should also appreciate that no job in these parts brings with it loftier distinction than managing the Red Sox. Historically, it's right up there with being president of fair Harvard, Cardinal Archbishop of Boston, even artistic director of the BSO, although lately some of the air has expired from that balloon. To which Terry Francona might be tempted to add a plaintive, "Amen."

But then there's nothing new about the merits of fame and glory being dubious. Abe Lincoln put it best in his neat parable of the once high and mighty fellow who was getting ridden out of town on a rail after being tarred and feathered and was heard to mutter, "If it weren't for the honor of this thing I'd just as soon have walked."

As the latest would-be savior to end up the sacrificial lamb of our grossly exaggerated baseball expectations, Bobby Valentine was spared the tar and the feathers. But he was obliged to eat a lot of crow and as an almost insufferably proud fellow that had to be -- for him -- almost as undignified. It was not the way he envisioned departing the wicked stage. Don't begrudge Valentine his $2.5 million in severance pay. He has earned it. The hard way!

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