Hello Cleveland III: Francona deserves curtain call

The Guru
Contributing Writer

Terry Francona was the manager that accomplished what no Red Sox manager in 86 years had been able to do. Not Joe Cronin, not Dick Williams, not Don Zimmer, not John McNamara. It was Terry Francona that brought a World Series Championship to Boston.

Francona was on top of the world in 2004. He was no Grady Little. And he was back on top in 2007 as the Sox swept the Rockies for their second World Series title in four years. Francona was dubbed the greatest manager in Red Sox history.

Flash forward to 2011. An overpaid group of chicken eating/beer swilling malcontents offer up a historic September collapse and blow an 8 game lead to miss the playoffs losing on the final day of the season.

Francona admitted there had been some players he "just couldn't reach." Less than a week later he was gone.

Immediately following his firing, a number of ugly rumors surrounded Francona. There was talk that Francona was hooked on painkillers, that he had been distracted by his divorce—that he had lost the clubhouse completely and that too many players were playing for themselves.

Then, last January, he released his scathing book written with Boston Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy, Francona: The Red Sox Years. In the book Francona questioned the ownerships passion, their micromanagement of the team, inferred that Sox owners cared more about money than cared about baseball and were the source of the leaks about his personal life.

Yesterday Francona reflected on the end with Dennis and Callahan WEEI Boston,
,“I haven’t talked to them. I was kind of disappointed because I was expecting to talk to them. That was kind of where some of my frustrations came from. It just kind of is what it is, using the Bill Belichick term. You deal with it and you move on. I haven’t been in touch with them. And I was disappointed; I wouldn’t have scripted the ending in Boston the way it happened."

These types of situations rarely end well. Terry Francano is back at Fenway Park tonight. This time in the visitors dugout. Here's what awaited him this afternoon:

Welcome back to Boston Tito. The circus never left, only you did.

With the Red Sox enjoying a surprising yet successful season, it's only right that all the negatives of the past be swept aside and Francona be remembered for all he did with a final curtain call from the Fenway Faithful.

Once the first pitch is thrown, all bets are off.

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