When the Red Sox celebrate the 100th anniversary of Fenway Park a week from Friday, it would only make sense to have one of the most successful managers in team history in attendance. Considering he brought two World Series trophies to Boston and broke an 86-year curse, Terry Francona meets the criteria. Unfortunately for the Red Sox, Francona has declined an invitation to join the celebration because he is still upset with the organization for smearing his name.
“Somebody went out of their way to make me look pretty bad,” Francona told the Boston Globe on Tuesday. “It’s a shame. I’m sure they’ll have a great event and I was part of a lot of that stuff there, but I just can’t go back there and start hugging people and stuff without feeling a little bit hypocritical.”
Who can blame him? Rather than just accepting that the Francona era had run its course and it was time to move on, somebody had to paint him as a man with a painkiller addiction who had as many problems at home as he did with handling the Red Sox clubhouse. Red Sox executives Larry Lucchino and John henry insist they did not plant the information, yet they have done nothing to find out who did or show Francona they regret the story was run.
“Larry called me yesterday,’’ Francona said. “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.’’
Francona said he tried to reach Lucchino at the end of last season but his calls were ignored. They eventually spoke when Lucchino called Tito back in February, but Francona says the phone call was “five months too late.”
“When I spoke to John he made me think they were going to make an effort,” Francona continued. “John and Larry made it clear to me they weren’t responsible for what was said (in the Globe article). I thought they owed it to me to get to the bottom of it a little bit…For me to go back and start waving and hugging, I’m just not comfortable doing that. I made it pretty clear to John Henry. When I told Larry that, he said, ‘Well, I haven’t talked to John about it.’ I said, well then how (expletive) important could it be?
It certainly is a shame. Francona brought the Red Sox back to life by winning a World Series in his first season as their manager. For him to have been dragged through the mud like that on his way out the door is an embarrassment to Boston’s ownership group. If it were me, I wouldn’t be taking part in any celebrations either.
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