FanDuel - WFBC

September 30, 2011

Fox Sports: Francona 'Likely' Out in Boston: After leading the Boston Red Sox to World Series titles in 2004 and 2007, manager Terry Francona is likely going to be dumped today, Fox Sports is reporting. "While Francona’s departure is not certain, it is the likely outcome," writes Ken Rosenthal. This goes against general manager Theo Epstein's comment Thursday: "Nobody blames what happened in September on Tito."

posted by rcade to baseball at 09:35 AM - 30 comments

I am torn here. 50% totally upset to see the best Sox manager of my lifetime (and maybe ever) leave. Losing a guy who's been a perfect fit for Boston and sabermetrically-inclined would be a blow to me as a fan.

The other 50% notes the story is by Ken Rosenthal who has a a habit of mis-reporting Sox stories like it's his job. Given the amount of equivocation in the first two grafs, I think I'll wait to get upset.

posted by yerfatma at 09:54 AM on September 30

50% totally upset to see the best Sox manager of my lifetime (and maybe ever) leave.

Don't be too upset considering he could still be the skipper of the Sox, just a different color.

posted by BornIcon at 10:10 AM on September 30

Note to Red Sox upper management: Dumping Francona isn't going to clear the stench of the Lackey and Crawford deals or improve the team. Accountability starts at the top.

posted by cixelsyd at 10:19 AM on September 30

The Red Sox will be sorry Francona is gone. He did a poor job in September, but that's one blemish on an otherwise legendary run as manager.

posted by rcade at 10:42 AM on September 30

This will be Buck Showalter's job to lose.

Just kidding.

posted by cl at 10:55 AM on September 30

he could still be the skipper of the Sox, just a different color.

Nice. Reports at the Globe suggest this was an ownership decision. Love to hear their reasoning. Best guess: he didn't extend his pinkie when eating cucumber sandwiches at their tea parties.

posted by yerfatma at 10:56 AM on September 30

So, who is the Red Sox equivalent of King Kenny?

posted by holden at 11:04 AM on September 30

Joe Morgan. No, not that guy.

posted by yerfatma at 11:22 AM on September 30

Well, I guess we can stop debating this until Monday or so. Until then, assuming you're willing to believe John Tomase, let's talk about pitcher drinking habits on off-days.

posted by yerfatma at 11:32 AM on September 30

Interesting read. Based upon this year's ERA numbers, maybe the plan next year should be for pitchers to drink on-days.

posted by cixelsyd at 12:08 PM on September 30

I would have to believe, and hope, that if Francona leaves Boston it's partly his own decision. His health issn't that great and he looks exhausted.

The clubhouse sounds a mess, but a 7 plus era in september seems a much bigger problem.

posted by justgary at 12:11 PM on September 30

And now the same reporter I just linked to says he is out, right after ESPN and a dozen other people reported he told his staff he was leaving. Awesome work.

Highlight of Sportscenter for me today was repulsive editorialist John Bucigross claiming he was "shocked" to find out there was still "alcohol in the workplace" in baseball clubhouses.

posted by yerfatma at 12:12 PM on September 30

And now he's back. Jesus. Forget the horrors of athletes on Twitter, it's the people who cover them that should be banned.

posted by yerfatma at 12:14 PM on September 30

Well, if you got an alcohol problem and Tito is out the door, there cain't be but one man for the job.

posted by beaverboard at 12:20 PM on September 30

Whether he is out or not, my guess is the main issues have to do with the questions of collaboration on the part of Tito and the management. Take, for example, John Lackey and Carl Crawford. The two most glaring examples of high paid and under performing players. It seems pretty clear that in Lackey's case that Francona never wanted him and/or thought that his effect on the clubhouse was not worth his pitching. In Crawford's case it's not even clear that *Theo* wanted him on the team, he never really fit in the lineup and the rumors are that the owners wanted a high profile name to help boost ratings or at least to show fans that they were doing something.

So it seems like Francona was not on board with these decisions yet was forced to manage the outcome. That's got to be a crappy situation and you could imagine that a.) If he leaves, it's because he doesn't want to deal with the long-term suck that these 2 players (and others) have brought in or b.) If he stays he will want a guarantee of greater decision-making power in the organization.

posted by jeremias at 12:55 PM on September 30

Local media here in Chicago is beating the drum for the Cubs to make a run at Theo. Which they surely will do; whether he will/can come is another story. As a Cardinals fan, I was perfectly happy with the Jim Hendry regime.

posted by holden at 01:11 PM on September 30

No matter how Francona leaves, he'll always get a standing ovation when he returns to Boston. 2004 and 2007 more than make up for anything outside those seasons.

posted by grum@work at 01:29 PM on September 30

I hope so. I don't know why I do it, but I'm amazed by the comments on the Globe message boards. Ignoring the morons who think Bobby V and Orel Hersheiser should step right in because they can talk a good game, you get stuff like:

"After this disaster he would never have been able to restore his legacy."

Really?

posted by yerfatma at 02:04 PM on September 30

Whoever replaces Tito needs to bring a coach with him who is physically able to beat the living crap out of any player who chooses not to put the team first. Once these guys get enough money, they stop listening to the reasonable or even the emotional appeals. A short right to the solar plexus has a way of gaining one's attention.

posted by Howard_T at 02:32 PM on September 30

Yeah, you know, one lousy month doesn't really negate, you know, erasing several decades of misery. Some sports fans have surprisingly short memories.

The question is, oh Red Sox upper management, who you got that's better?

posted by Joey Michaels at 02:45 PM on September 30

Whoever replaces Tito needs to bring a coach with him who is physically able to beat the living crap out of any player who chooses not to put the team first. Once these guys get enough money, they stop listening to the reasonable or even the emotional appeals. A short right to the solar plexus has a way of gaining one's attention.

Howard, not to pick on you specifically (as this seems to be a common enough sentiment and I gather your comment was not meant to be taken literally), but how do we explain the success the Yankees and Phillies -- who have a lot of similarly-compensated players -- had this year? Surely it's not just that Manuel and Girardi are tougher characters than Tito.

posted by holden at 02:56 PM on September 30

Surely it's not just that Manuel and Girardi are tougher characters than Tito.

The problem with Tito this year goes back to the very reasons for his success in past years. Tito is a "players' manager", who never spoke a negative thought about a player in public. For whatever reasons, the players of the '04 and '07 World Series teams, and even those in the less successful years, were professional in their conduct and did not need to be pushed by the manager. Rather, the quiet, hands-off style suited them well. If there were any who tended to give less than best effort, others on the team took the lead. Of course I wasn't in the clubhouse, this is only what I infer from public contemporaneous reports. This year the team seemed to lack this sort of leadership, at least any that could overcome the inertia, and Tito's style was unable to move anyone. This is why I feel that, given the current roster, they will need a more forceful presence than Tito's. I would be willing to wager that there will be some surprise absences from Fort Myers next spring, and these might make it just a bit easier to motivate the team.

posted by Howard_T at 04:23 PM on September 30

but how do we explain the success the Yankees and Phillies

Pitching. I don't even see an argument otherwise.

The idea that the difference between the Yankees, Phillies, and Red Sox being motivation is ludicrous.

posted by justgary at 04:54 PM on September 30

Tyler Kepner of the NYT has tweeted (@TylerKepner) that Francona is out per a Red Sox press release. Not seeing it elsewhere yet, for what it's worth.

Edited to Add: Appears to be official.

posted by holden at 05:34 PM on September 30

Ridiculous. If he'd left of his own accord, fine. But this seems ridiculous. I want to know who these bad apples were. Because if they cut Tito loose because of Lackey or some ass like that . . . I guess it will all be fine and interesting come February, but it feels shitty right now. I know it's sour grapes, but I don't care for this ownership group. I can't stand Tom Werner or Lucchino. John Henry seems like a ghost; he lacks all presence.

On edit: never mind, they say he asked out. Good on him if it's true.

posted by yerfatma at 05:58 PM on September 30

Well, that is a damn shame, but your link suggests they at least handled it with a reasonable amount of class. Here's hoping Tito lands somewhere worthy of his talents.

posted by Joey Michaels at 06:01 PM on September 30

FWIW, I'm with Howard. Bring in the Ghost of Wil McDonough to start smacking people in the gut.

posted by yerfatma at 06:05 PM on September 30

Oh please, not McDonough. Maybe we could put Whitey Bulger on a day release program instead.

McDonough had a few moments when he served a useful purpose. Such as: "Mo Vaughn, you're fat and you cahn't field your position". And as the third ornery man in the 96-97 Parcells-Kraft soap opera.

But otherwise, the self-importance and overbearing tone were insufferable. He could suck the joy and life out of a sporting moment and turn it into steamed scrod. And make us eat it because it was Friday.

posted by beaverboard at 09:51 PM on September 30

beaverboard, that was poetically awesome.

posted by Joey Michaels at 11:20 PM on September 30

I just gotta ask ....

If it was Francona's decision to leave because he didn't think he could be successful with some of the current pieces, who the hell do the Red Sox think they can get to manage who can? Seem to recall he guided Boston to a World Series championship with the biggest flake who ever donned a baseball uniform.

Please ... please ... don't let the Red Sox erode into the Dallas Cowboys of baseball.

posted by cixelsyd at 01:05 AM on October 01

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