An open letter to the new manager of the Red Sox.

 

Dear Sir,

Boston is a tough place to play professional baseball. It’s an even tougher place to manage. Just about every man, woman and child in New England believes he or she can manage the Red Sox. Most think they can do a better job than you.

So, as you’re about to take over the reigns of our beloved Olde Towne Team, here are a few bits of unsolicited advice on how to handle the cauldron that is Boston baseball.

Believe me, you’ll be getting a lot more advice next summer.

1. Don’t let the inmates run the asylum.

Your predecessor, Terry Francona, was the ultimate player’s manager. It served him well for the better part of eight years. He won two World Series and made the playoffs five times. But in the end, his lack of clubhouse control did him in.

Boston has always been a tough place to rule with an iron fist. Pedro Martinez had his picture photoshopped into the team picture at least five times. Remember the picture of Butch Hobson running alongside Roger Clemens, trying to talk to his ace? Clemens was wearing headphones and wasn’t listening.

That’s OK. You don’t need to be Lou Piniella. You do need to set clear rules and make players adhere to them. Even if it means benching a starter for a game early on. Lean on Dustin Pedroia, the heart and soul of this team. Demand that your hitters run out ground balls, and that your pitchers stick around and watch the game — even if they’re not pitching.

And ban beer from the clubhouse, at least during games.

2. Don’t let your players complain about playing in Boston

Baseball matters here. It matters a lot. Because of that, people will stop you and your players for photos and autographs. They’ll do it at games, at restaurants, at the grocery store, and as you’re leaving church. Remind your players this is a blessing, not a curse.

You’ll also play a lot of Sunday night games. Therefore, you will arrive in the next city early in the morning. This will seem unfair. Just remember there’s a reason teams like Kansas City and Pittsburgh get more sleep: No one cares about them enough to put them on the Sunday night Game of the Week.

3. Don’t let the computer make out the lineup card

We’ve all heard about Carmine, the computer used by the Red Sox front office. It’s a simple idea, having all information fed into a central processing unit. It can be a valuable tool, but it can’t manage. Use the computer for information, but use your judgment when the games begin.

Of course, that’s what Grady Little did when he left Martinez in too long in Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS. Which is how Francona got the job.

4. Don’t be afraid to tell the media what’s on your mind

The baseball media in Boston is relentless. It’s also a great way to get a message to your players. Francona never told the media when he was unhappy with a player. That’s admirable, but he could’ve gotten a message to a player or two along the way. Joe Torre did this well in New York, and Francona might’ve been able to stop the clubhouse anarchy before it destroyed the 2011 season.

5. Don’t read the papers

Managers say they don’t pay attention to the press, but they almost always do. Don’t. We appreciate your patronage, but time spent reading about what we think is wasted time.

6. Just win, baby

The late Al Davis was right. Winning will define you. Had the Sox won one additional game, Francona would probably still be managing. I don’t need to tell you this, but you need to win as many games as you can. It will make your time here a lot more enjoyable.

And it will keep me from writing another letter like this for a good, long while.

 

Tom Caron is the studio host for Red Sox broadcasts on the New England Sports Network. His column appears in the Press Herald on Tuesdays.