It’s your second year running the company. Your first year was a disaster. You took charge of an organization you grew up idolizing in New Hampshire but that was reeling from an ugly scandal. With the stench of that mess still festering, you hired an outsider, a new leader who talked a good game but merely proceeded to turn the smell of horse manure into the smell of boiled cabbage. Desperate, you got rid of three stars who were grumpy and overpaid, and you fired the new manager after just one year. By now the fans who used to love this company, who used to cheer it through the summer and pay it more attention than they paid their own children, hate it. And they’re vowing to boycott it. Your job is on the line.
So what do you do? You hire a group of less talented but hungrier and cheaper workers who promise to do whatever you want. You put your faith in team players, and you trust your proven performers to lead the way. And you hire another new manager, but this time one who used to work at the company back when times were good and whom everybody liked. Then you sit back and watch the magic unfold. For Ben Cherington — graduate of Amherst College and UMass Amherst, 39-year-old Boston resident, and Boston Red Sox general manager — 2013 was a year of redemption beyond his wildest boyhood dreams.