TORONTO -- Former Toronto manager John Farrell returned to Rogers Centre to boos with his Boston Red Sox on Friday.
The crowd booed heartily as Farrell's name was announced to kick off the Boston lineup. Not surprisingly, Toronto's manager John Gibbons earned warm applause when the PA announcer turned his attention to the Blue Jays.
Farrell and Gibbons then met at home plate to bring out their lineup cards, with louder boos greeting every Farrell step out of the dugout. The Boston manager tipped his cap on the way back to the visitors' dugout as the noise level grew again.
As the game started, some among the crowd of 45,328 fans chanted "Screw You, Farrell." There were chants of "Farrell, Farrell" as the game wore on, with a cruder variation of the original chant.
Farrell took the high road after the game, a 6-4 victory for the Red Sox.
"Given the circumstances, the fans had fun with the situation," he said.
"It was a great crowd," he added. "The energy they create, it was just an outstanding night. Great atmosphere to play this game in."
Even Boston pitching coach Juan Nieves got booed as he went out to the mound.
"I think anybody in a grey uniform was going to take it in some form or fashion," said Farrell.
Prior to the game, Farrell was diplomatic when he met some three dozen members of the media.
"It's good to be back," he said.
And the Boston manager said he got to chat with some locals on his walk to the stadium from the team hotel.
"Surprisingly a number of people welcomed me back," he said.
Still he expected some boos.
"I can fully respect and can understand the sentiment, the questions and maybe what might transpire here tonight (from the fans)," he added. "That to me shows there's a lot of passion here for baseball."
Farrell, who asked to be let out of his contract after two seasons at the Jays' helm, was eventually traded to Boston along with pitcher David Carpenter for shortstop Mike Aviles, who was subsequently sent to Cleveland for relief pitcher Esmil Rogers.
Farrell spent four seasons as pitching coach in Boston before coming Toronto's manager.
Farrell got a vote of support from Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista, who said the players respected Farrell and his desire to go after his "dream job."
"We'd rather have him over there than instead of being over here and wishing he was there," added Bautista, who was not in the starting lineup due to a sore ankle. "We have a manager that wants to be here."
Gibbons, who hardly knows Farrell, drew laughs when he responded to a question about whether the return of the man he succeeded meant anything to him.
"No, other than I'm glad it happened or I wouldn't be here," he said.
It's not the first time Farrell has crossed paths with the Jays since. He brought a split Red Sox squad to Dunedin in late February, losing 4-2.
The paths of Farrell and Gibbons did not cross that day. Bench coach DeMarlo Hale brought out the Toronto lineup, with Farrell doing the honours for Boston.
Asked Friday if there was anything he would do differently if he could do things all over, Farrell said no.
"I know I can look myself in the mirror and say that I gave this organization, the Blue Jays organization, everything I had on a given day. To work as diligently, as thoroughly as possible to win a game on a given night and we had to deal with a lot of things along the way."
Asked about how he felt heading to the visitors' locker-room rather than the familiar home one, Farrell said: "It's a lot smaller on this side."
It was also a homecoming for Boston third base coach Brian Butterfield, who spent 11 years as a coach with the Blue Jays.
"I met some of the finest people I ever met in Toronto," said Butterfield. "It's good to get back."
Butterfield moved to Boston after failing to get the managerial job that ultimately went to Gibbons, who is close friend.
He said he took the job that was available.
"I'm a New England guy and I didn't want to be on the outside looking in," he said. "If you end up waiting too long then they pull the trigger and I could find myself in low-A ball, riding the buses again."