Terry Francona vs. Red Sox
Tito during better times with the Red Sox. (Photo by Cascadia08 via Wikimedia Commons)
I hope Terry Francona is packing the big guns because I’ve got a feeling this thing is going to escalate.
In case you’re not up on the latest installment of the soap opera/traveling circus known as the Boston Red Sox, erstwhile team manager Terry Francona ripped his old bosses a new one in this morning’s Globe. Apparently John Henry and Larry Lucchino wanted Francona to come join the jubilee planned for Fenway Park’s 100th anniversary. After all, considering that Francona led the Red Sox to two World Series titles and is indisputably the greatest manager in club history (at least since 1918), it’d be sort of awkward if he weren’t part of the official celebration. But Francona basically told Henry and Lucchino to take their Fanfare for Fenway and shove it. He’s still smarting from last year’s end-of-season Globe exposé, in which anonymous sources alleged that the manager’s separation from his wife and his use of pain medication got in the way of his job. We don’t know if Francona sought out Dan Shaughnessy for the piece or if old shank caught wind of what was up and tracked down Francona, but either way, them’s is fighting words from Tito:
“Larry called me yesterday,”’ Francona said Tuesday. “I was in a phone store in Arizona. I had three people standing around me. I was at a little bit of a disadvantage. He got a little perturbed at me, telling me I was being unfair to them. I called him back last night and left him a message. He called me back and we ended up getting into an argument. I just feel like someone in the organization went out of their way to hurt me and the more we talked I realized we’re just not on the same wavelength. They’re probably better off going forth and leaving me out of it.”
Now, as far as I can tell, there are two ways for this to go: everyone can chill out and let cooler heads prevail, or this can get a whole lot uglier. Now who actually thinks these guys are going to chill out and let cooler heads prevail? The Red Sox have a long history of trashing guys on their way out the door. Ask Nomar, Pedro, and now, Francona. And this is a thin-skinned club that takes every perceived slight personally — we know that for sure from their PR strategy. All of that being said, would anybody be surprised if all of a sudden we started hearing more rumors from anonymous sources about other unflattering or unsavory things Francona may have done during his time as manager?
The Red Sox have made a huge deal out of Fenway Park’s centennial. From the uniform patch to inviting every living ex-player and manager back for the celebration, to the song from John Williams. Now, when the April 20 celebration rolls around, all anybody is going to be talking about is the guy not there: Terry Francona. That can’t be sitting well with the Red Sox brass. Now we just wait and see what they do about it.