Ramble On Sports

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Posts Tagged ‘Terry Francona’

Red Sox make crucial mistake in parting ways with Francona

Posted by bdowd625 on October 1, 2011

We’re going to miss you, Tito.

I’ll start out by saying that I don’t think Terry Francona was always the best in-game manager. Some of his decisions on the field left me scratching my head, whether it be the insertion of a pinch runner for Adrian Gonzalez in the seventh inning or his extra-long leash when it came to leaving tiring starting pitchers in the game. But I think every fan feels that way about their manager at one point or another, and second-guessing is a part of the job that Francona has always understood.

With that in mind, I think the Boston Red Sox made a monumental mistake yesterday when they parted ways with Francona after eight very successful seasons. Francona’s greatest strength has always been his ability to protect his players in a rabid sports town, a quality I think many of the Red Sox took for granted after a while. Plain and simple, Boston took advantage of its manager this year, as high-priced prima donnas like Carl Crawford, John Lackey and, yes, even my boy Josh Beckett drove the team into the ground. Sure, Francona should share some of the blame for the team’s historic September collapse – no one gets a free pass in that regard – but it was evident that many of the Red Sox had given up on him and the season.

And so Francona became the fall guy yesterday after bringing Beantown not one, but two World Series titles in his tenure. He said his players were tuning him out and that he couldn’t get the team to move together in one direction. It’s a shame it had to come to this after all Francona has done here, but that’s how it works with these millionaire crybabies. You can’t fire 25 players, but you can fire the manager. Boston’s new leader certainly has his work cut out for himself – whomever it may be – and I find it hard to believe he’ll handle these players half as well as Francona did in his eight-year run. We’ll just have to wait and see.

In the meantime, though, I want to thank Francona for all his hard work. He gave this fan base a reason to believe when we thought that elusive championship would never come. I can confidently say his place in Red Sox history is safe.

And now, with the Red Sox season over, I leave you with an excerpt from an essay by A. Bartlett Giamatti, former commissioner of Major League Baseball. If this doesn’t perfectly sum up the beauty of baseball then nothing does.

“The Green Fields of the Mind”

It breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in the
spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer,
filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come,
it stops and leaves you to face the fall alone. You count on it, rely on it to
buffer the passage of time, to keep the memory of sunshine and high skies alive,
and then just when the days are all twilight, when you need it most, it stops.
Today, October 2, a Sunday of rain and broken branches and leaf-clogged drains
and slick streets, it stopped, and summer was gone.

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So long, sweet summer…

Posted by bdowd625 on September 7, 2010

I’m officially waving goodbye to the 2010 Boston Red Sox tonight. Like most of my fellow Sox fans out there, I’ve known for a while now that this team had a snowball’s chance in hell of making the playoffs. And yet somehow I kept getting sucked back in, night in and night out. That infuriating trend ends tonight.

When the Sox needed a big outing from Daisuke Matsuzaka against the Rays, they got nothing. It’s so typical of this team, which always seemed on the cusp of making a breakthrough only to let it slide by the wayside. I suppose it’s a good thing that Matsuzaka got shelled tonight because the Sox were foolishly thinking of starting Clay Buchholz on three days rest tomorrow. Yeah, let’s jeopardize the future of our best starter just to have John Lackey choke away the momentum a few days later. I’m getting angry just sitting here.

With that said, it’s time for me to let go of this baseball season and look forward to the Patriots, Bruins and Celtics, all of whom will be returning in the next two months. As much as it pains me to kiss summer goodbye, it’s really the only logical choice left. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go join BK1015 for a beer. He had the Sox pegged from the get-go. Suits me right for being an optimist.

P.S. Did anyone hear Terry Francona’s interview on WEEI’s The Dale & Holley Show last Wednesday? He was being an impatient prick who simply didn’t want to face the fact that he’s been a mediocre manager at best this season. Can’t wait for more whining out of him on tomorrow’s show.

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This Manager strikes (out) again

Posted by Bill Koch on August 29, 2010

If you watched the Boston Red Sox last night, you now understand why I’ve never been a fan of This Manager.

He was up to his usual tricks as Tampa Bay pulled out a 3-2 win against the Red Sox in 10 innings at The Trop Dump. Dan Johnson’s solo homer off Scott Atchison to lead off the bottom of the 10th ensured that Boston wouldn’t sweep the three-game series and put the Red Sox right back where they started the weekend – 5.5 games behind the Rays and staring at fading postseason hopes.

This Manager made poor decisions with his pitching staff yet again, and yet again he’ll go unquestioned by the lemmings in Pink Hat Nation because of his past success. Leaving Clay Buchholz out there to rot into the eighth inning, limiting Daniel Bard to just the ninth and putting Atchison in the game in a key spot were acts of lunacy.

Let’s start with Buchholz, who entered the eighth with his gas tank just about on ‘E’. Boston had just taken a 2-1 lead thanks to a solo homer by Victor Martinez, his third bomb in two games of the Red Sox biggest series of the season. Everything was set up perfectly to use Bard in the eighth and Jonathan Papelbon in the ninth, giving both pitchers a clean start to his respective inning. Instead, Buchholz was trotted back out there after seven strong to give it up to B.J. Upton.

This Manager didn’t stop there. He brought Bard in for the ninth in a 2-2 game and the electric righthander set down the side on 10 pitches. If there was ever a position that screamed for Bard to work another inning, this was it. Instead, Atchison was summoned from the bullpen to pitch the 10th and the predictable ending played itself out. Maybe This Manager didn’t want to overwork Bard, and that’s his own fault as well. If he didn’t appear in half of Boston’s games through the first 100 the organization might be a little more lenient about putting some extra miles on his golden arm. It’s a cumulative effect that people don’t usually remember, and that’s why we’re pointing it out here.

Last night’s game sheds some pretty bright light on why This Manager is just 7-21 against his counterpart, Tampa manager Joe Maddon, in games decided by two runs or less since 2008. It’s yet another example of why This Manager isn’t the God among men that so many people in Pink Hat Nation think he is. Decisions like these are why This Manager is so hated in Philadelphia after guiding the Phillies to four straight sub-.500 seasons before being fired and why he’s so lucky that the Red Sox front office handed him a Rolls Royce team in 2004 and 2007. He can’t be expected to make the difference in big games thanks to his own decision-making ability. You’ll all be watching the postseason on television this year in New York, Tampa, Texas and Minnesota while the Boston market remains silent, and you don’t need to look back any further than Saturday night to find out why.

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