Originally written on NESN.com  |  Last updated 11/15/14
A lot has changed since last December, and that was no more clear than it was Tuesday on a sunny October day in Boston. Just 11 months ago, Bobby Valentine was in front of the podium at Fenway Park, speaking about how excited he was to have another chance at managing again, let alone leading the Boston Red Sox. "This day is a special day, and it's more than a special day," Valentine said at his introductory news conference. "It's the beginning of a life that I think is going to extend beyond anything else that I thought of doing. The talent level and the players that we have in this organization, I think, is a gift to anyone. And I'm the receiver of that gift." It was more about the man, not the team, and not the reclamation project in front of Valentine and the Red Sox. The veteran manager even felt the need to defend his character ("I'm not the monster that breathes fire that some people have referred to me as" as well as his reputation ("I am not the polarizing guy the people refer to me as"). The video board once again welcomed a new manager at Fenway Park on Tuesday, but that's where the similarities ended. Where Valentine was happy just to be back in managing, you got the feeling Tuesday that John Farrell always expected to be back in Boston. The Sox went in a completely direction with this managerial, nabbing the man who was presumably the guy they wanted when they ended their relationship with Terry Francona in 2011. Farrell was unable to escape Toronto, though. Valentine was supposed to bridge that gap between the two, but that bridge was faulty, collapsing early in his tenure. The Sox went for the splash and ended up drowning.  Now they turn to Farrell, who made his triumphant return to Boston on Tuesday afternoon. He was impressive, presidential even, as he was reintroduced to New England. He never wavered in his tone, speaking sternly and confidently about what he can do to help the club win ball games Farrell laid out a plan, and that plan coincides with the theme of this ongoing Red Sox cleansing. When the club parted ways with Valentine, the need for a "cultural change" was stressed, and the Sox certainly have that with Farrell.  It's fairly clear that Farrell is going to put his stamp on this ballclub. He spoke with confidence and authority on Tuesday, driving home the belief that he is a no-nonsense leader. It's safe to assume that "passive-aggressive," a term used to describe Valentine, won't be placed in front of Farrell's name any time soon. Farrell preaches preparation -- always has -- and he made a point to mention that multiple times on Tuesday. It's clear that the preparation and planning has already begun, the vision that Farrell has for what he wants his team to be is clear. He spoke of how he wants the ballclub to employ an "up-tempo, aggressive style of play." That change is pivotal to changing the culture, he says. "To play that style of game, it does create an attitude with I think is critical to win at the major league level," he said, also preaching the importance of hustle. "That is non-negotiable. Our effort is controlled. It's controlled every night and that is a minimum. I expect professionalism at the major league level and in this organization." Farrell's familiarity with Boston, whether it's with Ben Cherington, the baseball ops department, the players, the fans, the market, etc., will make all of this easier. Yet, Farrell is not taking the relationship with his players for granted. Despite his no-nonsense ways, Farrell said more than once that a team's success is ultimately rooted with the players, noting that cultivating successful relationships will lead to that success.  "I will work my butt off to earn their trust, to earn their respect," he said. "If that's being described as a players' manager, then that's what I am." And where Valentine faltered as a communicator, expect Farrell to flourish. "I can't speak to what the clubhouse was last year, but I think it's important to communicate with the players, we outline expectations and we have to hold players accountable for what we're trying to get done," he said. "That's leading people." The Red Sox' culture change is under way, and that was abundantly clear on Tuesday. However, that cultural change is not exclusive to the manager's office. It has to continue into the offseason, where the manager-general manager relationship will be crucial. "Ben you said an awful lot of nice things," Farrell said upon taking the podium, "but we know it's going to come down to the quality of the players on the roster." That much is certainly true, and there is a ton of work to be done for Farrell, Cherington and everyone else who calls Yawkey Way home. But if Tuesday is any indication, it appears that the Red Sox are finally headed in the right direction.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

James Harden wants some help in the backcourt

Lightning reach Stanley Cup Final with Game 7 win

Devon Still: Daughter has complications with transplant

Rivers denies report of problems with CP3 and Jordan

Orlando Magic hope Skiles can right sinking ship

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Falcons waive Shembo over animal cruelty charges

Report: Tom Brady’s suspension appeal hearing set for June 23

Peterson is wrong (sorta): NFL players have great power

Scout: A-Rod 'looks like he doesn't give a (expletive)'

Belichick mum on Deflategate in first remarks since discipline

Dwight Howard suspended for first game of 2015-16 season

WATCH: San Diego State player steals home to seal win

St. Thomas pitcher Ben Ancheff takes internet by storm

WATCH: Josh Hamilton hits first two homers of the season

Did Andrew Bogut take a shot at Mark Jackson?

$70 million Reebok deal is bad for UFC fighters

If the Warriors win the NBA title, the parade will be for Oakland

SEC no longer allows transfers with 'serious misconduct' issues

Klay Thompson officially diagnosed with concussion

Snoop Dogg hooks Texas A&M up with adidas cleats

WATCH: Stephen Curry rides a mini-horse

Metta World Peace gets ejected after five fouls in one minute

On satellite camps and the SEC crying over its self-protections

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Lightning reach Stanley Cup Final with Game 7 win

Devon Still's daughter has complications with transplant

$70M Reebok deal is bad for UFC fighters

If the Warriors win the title, the parade will be for Oakland

Peterson is wrong (sorta): NFL players have great power

Dwight Howard suspended for first game of 2015-16 season

Four QBs set to take step back in 2015

Spelling Bee co-champ wears LeBron jersey under shirt

Top 10 stories from 2015 NBA Playoffs

Rangers-Lightning Game 7 preview

The can't-miss Prince Fielder

Chip Kelly: Tebow is a quarterback

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.