Over the past two years, we in Toronto had taken to calling John Farrell “President Farrell.” Fine, it was mostly only me who called him “President Farrell,” and I enjoyed it. Being a Canadian, I can admit it: I’ve always wanted a president. And Farrell was oh so presidential, especially when donned in a suit and tie. And, of course, there is his presidential jawline. As you can see, below, President Farrell has no neck, only a jaw.
President Farrell is, of course, no more, his term cut short, his office and administration abandoned in disgrace. And our Investigative Reporting Investigation Team’s Canadian office has secured for us a transcript of President John Farrell’s resignation speech, delivered to the Blue Jays front office, and broadcast live over the weekend at the SkyDome for a few select season-ticket holders.
This is the 19th time I have spoken to you from this office, where so many decisions have been made that shaped the history of the Toronto Blue Jays. Each time I have done so to discuss with you some matter that I believe affected the franchise’s interest.
In all the decisions I have made in my baseball life, I have always tried to do what was best for the Boston Red Sox; for Red Sox Nation. Throughout the long and difficult period of managing the Blue Jays, I have felt it was my duty to persevere, to make every possible effort to complete the term of office to which I, Alex Anthopoulos, Paul Beeston, and the entire front office agreed upon.
In the past few days, however, it has become evident to me that I no longer have a strong desire to justify continuing that effort. As you may have noticed, the Red Sox need a new manager. As long as they had a manager — yes, even Bobby Valentine — I felt strongly that it was necessary to manage the Blue Jays through to the conclusion of my contract, that to do otherwise would be unfaithful to the spirit of that deliberately difficult process that was my hiring and a dangerously destabilizing precedent for the future.
But with the firing of Bobby Valentine, and the mutual interest between the Red Sox and myself, I now believe that my purpose with the Blue Jays has been served, and there is no longer a need for the process to be prolonged.
I would have preferred to carry through to the finish whatever the personal agony it would have involved, and my family unanimously urged me to do so. But the interest of Red Sox Nation must always come before any personal considerations.
From the discussions I have had with Alex Anthopoulos and Paul Beeston, I have concluded that because of my undying love for the Red Sox, I might not have the support of the Blue Jays that I would consider necessary to back the very difficult decisions and carry out the duties of this office in the way the interests of the Blue Jays would require.
I have never been a quitter. To leave office before my term is completed is abhorrent to every instinct in my body. But as President, I must put the interest of the Red Sox first. Boston needs a full-time manager, particularly at this time with the problems the Red Sox face at home and abroad.
To continue to fight through the months ahead while wanting to manage the Red Sox so frigging bad would almost totally absorb the time and attention of both the President and the Blue Jays in a period when our entire focus should be on the great issues of returning Toronto pitchers to good health, finding a second baseman and another starting pitcher, fixing Ricky Romero, trading J.P. Arencibia, and developing the Anthony Goses, Adeiny Hechavarrias, and Travis d’Arnauds at home.
Therefore, I shall resign the Presidency effective immediately, to become manager of the Boston Red Sox, and have my dreams come true. It is my hope that Brian Butterfield will be sworn in as President of the Blue Jays in the coming days in this office.
As I recall the high hopes for the Blue Jays with which we began this three-year term, I feel a great sadness that I will not be here in this office working on your behalf to achieve those hopes over the next year and beyond. But in turning over direction of the Blue Jays back to Alex Anthopoulos and Paul Beeston, I know, as I told the Blue Jays when I took the job two years ago, that the leadership of Toronto’s baseball franchise is in good hands.
In passing this office back to Anthopoulos to fill, I also do so with the profound sense of the weight of responsibility that will fall on his shoulders and, therefore, of the understanding, the patience, the cooperation he will need from all Toronto Blue Jays supporters.
As he assumes that responsibility, he will deserve the help and the support of all of us. As we look to the future, the first essential is to begin healing the wounds of this Blue Jays team, to put the bitterness and divisions of the recent past behind us, and to rediscover those shared ideals that lie at the heart of your strength and unity as a great Canadian people.
By taking this action, I hope that I will have hastened the start of that process of healing which is so desperately needed in Toronto.
I regret deeply any injuries that may have been done in the course of the events that led to this decision. I would say only that if some of my judgments were wrong, and some were wrong, they were made in what I believed at the time to be the best interest of Red Sox Nation.
To those who have stood with me during these past difficult months, to my family, my friends, to many others who joined in supporting my cause because they believed it was right, I will be eternally grateful for your support.
And to those who have not felt able to give me your support, especially as this process agonizingly dragged on, let me say I leave with no bitterness toward those who have opposed me, because all of us, in the final analysis, have been concerned with the good of the Blue Jays — except me — however our judgments might differ.
So, let us all now join together in affirming that common commitment and in helping our new President succeed for the benefit of all Blue Jays supporters.
I shall leave this office with regret at not completing my term, but with gratitude for the privilege of serving as your President for the past two years. These years have been a momentous time in the history of the Blue Jays and the baseball world. They have been a time of achievement in which we can all be proud, achievements that represent the shared efforts of the Administration, the front office, and Blue Jays supporters.
But the challenges ahead are equally great, and they, too, will require the support and the efforts of the front office and the people working in cooperation with the new Administration.
We weren’t able to end Toronto’s incredibly long playoff drought, and in the work of securing a team that can contend for years to come, the goals ahead are even more far-reaching and more difficult, which is why I’m so happy and relieved to be heading back to Boston. Toronto must complete its rebuild — and spend some goddamned money — so that it will be said of this generation, a generation of Blue Jays supporters, by the people of all nations, not only that Toronto ended its playoff drought, but that it won another World Series.
Here in Toronto, you are fortunate that most of the team’s supporters have not only the blessings of liberty but also the means to live full and good and, by Canada’s standards, even abundant lives. The Blue Jays must press on, however, toward a goal of not finishing fourth in the American League East again, and of what they are striving so hard right now to achieve: playing meaningful baseball in September. Hell, even mid-August.
For more than a quarter of a century in my baseball life I have shared in the turbulent history of this era. I have fought for what I believed in; I have fought for the Boston Red Sox. I have tried to the best of my ability to discharge those duties and meet those responsibilities that were entrusted to me.
Sometimes I have succeeded and sometimes I have failed, but always I have taken heart from what Theodore Roosevelt once said about the Red Sox supporter in the arena, “whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes short again and again because there is not effort without error and shortcoming, but who does actually strive to do the deed, who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumphs of high achievements and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.”
I pledge to you tonight that as long as I have a breath of life in my body, I shall continue in that spirit. I shall continue to work for the great causes to which I have been dedicated throughout my years as a pitcher, a pitching coach, a manager, and President, the cause of a World Series title not just for the Red Sox … Actually, yes, only for the Red Sox.
There is one cause above all to which I have been devoted and to which I shall always be devoted for as long as I live.
When I first took the oath of office as President two years ago, I made this sacred commitment, to “consecrate my office, my energies, and all the wisdom I can summon to the cause of another World Series title for the Red Sox.” It just so happened that I was working for the Blue Jays at the time.
I have done my very best in all the days since to be true to that pledge. As a result of these efforts, I am confident that the Blue Jays are a better team today, not only for the people of Canada but for the people of all nations, and that all of our children have a better chance than before of living in peace rather than dying in war.
This, more than anything, is what I hoped to achieve when I sought the Presidency. This, more than anything, is what I hope will be my legacy to you, Blue Jays supporters, as I leave the Presidency for Boston, the only team I’ve ever actually been truly interested in managing.
To have served in this office is to have felt a very personal sense of kinship with each and every Torontonian; each and every Canadian. In leaving it, I do so with this prayer: May God’s grace be with the Red Sox in all the days ahead.
H/T: Richard Nixon.
Navin Vaswani is a replacement-level writer. Follow him on Twitter.