Terry Francona on Painkiller Talk: It ‘Cut My Legs Out from Under Me’
With Terry Francona having recently announced that he will take a year off from managing, it’s fair to wonder if the Red Sox not only cost him his job in Boston, but also other managerial opportunities across the MLB. In particular, you have to wonder what effect the tidbit about Francona reportedly abusing painkillers in this lengthy Boston Globe article had on his ability to convince other clubs he is a worthy leader. Either way, Francona says he felt betrayed and hurt that Bob Hohler — who is responsible for releasing that atom bomb of an article — said what he did about Terry’s personal affairs.
“When I hung up with Bob, I was under the impression that he understood,” Francona said in an interview with WEEI on Thursday. “I could have gotten him to talk to (Larry Ronan, a Red Sox physician). I was under the impression that wasn’t part of the story. We definitely got our signals crossed. I would have put up more of a fight (to deny the allegations).
“The people that know me that well knew that what was said in the paper wasn’t true. It was obviously said to hurt me. If there was one thing I was probably guilty of, it was protecting everyone in that organization. Everybody. I felt that was part of my responsibility, even to the point where in that last press conference, I said I take responsibility for this. I couldn’t get to the players. I thought, ‘OK, I’m done here. I’ll take responsibility and go away.’ Little did I know I was going to be going away limping because someone cut my legs out from under me.”
If Hohler gave Francona the impression that he was not going to use the painkiller discussion as part of his story, his printing it is irresponsible. Not only that, but it obviously had effects. That side of the story showed the former Boston manager in an entirely new light, and Francona said he was forced to answer questions about it when interviewing for other positions.
“That probably aggravated me — not from St. Louis,” he said while explaining that it came up when he was looking to land the Cardinals managing job. “I would have asked me, too — but the fact that I had to defend myself aggravated me.”
I have already made it clear that I think Francona was treated unfairly on his way out the door — whether John Henry and the Red Sox brass leaked any of the controversial information or not. But if Francona was indeed given the impression by Hohler that he wasn’t going to discuss the alleged painkiller addiction in the story, then his future as an MLB manager may have been unfairly compromised as well.