I knew, as a Red Sox fan my whole life, that the reaction to the biggest September collapse in baseball history was going to elicit very strong emotional reactions, some bordering on irate temper tantrums. But the resulting fallout from this year’s collapse has been nothing short of a complete nuclear meltdown in terms of organizational structure. From an article published in the Boston Globe, (let it be known I despise this newspaper vehemently for their blatant and consistent negativity/unfair portrayals of prominent team members as well as possessing the most liberally slanted pieces known to man, but I couldn’t deprive myself of an opportunity offer my scrutiny on the assertions made within the piece) small pieces of evidence were turned up (players (Josh Beckett/John Lackey) blatantly admitting they care more about their stats and how much fried chicken they are getting in the clubhouse during the team completely free falling) as well as prominent “leaders” like David Ortiz mutating into from gregarious, fun loving clubhouse leader into a completely self involved asshole who put DAVID ORTIZ over everything else he formerly represented, like loyalty and integrity for this franchise. His publicly questioning Alfredo Aceves not being a starter undermining management at a critical juncture of the season as well giving an ESPN interview post collapse which was 50 % assuaging his ego/reputation and 50 % one of the most transparent negotiation tactics I have ever seen were just two instances of his falling a few step down the ladder of respectability. From some of his quotes:
“There’s too much drama here”
Translation: I’m creating leverage by giving the impression I might leave due to internal team turmoil, which serves as a great bargaining chip.
“They (the Yankees) do things right.”
Translation: Further driving my price tag up by using the Yankees financial resources and need for a DH to my advantage.
“I don’t know what my future holds”
Translation: Creating artificial uncertainty and hoping he gets a fat paycheck before Prince Fielder does because he will be fucked otherwise.
Result: There is a method to fair negotiations, and as far as I’m concerned, stringing a fan base along with vague remarks and using an epic team failure as a method of getting paid is an asshole move.
Bringing up some issues and illustrating the extent of potential clubhouse dysfunction for the Red Sox I’m completely fine with. However, there is a portion of this article I have MASSIVE issues with, and as a fan, am completely disgusted with, even ashamed that a media outlet responsible for covering my team dabbles in such reprehensible smear tactics. I refer to the portion of this abominable piece of passive aggressively written vitriol making some very dangerous insinuations about Terry Francona AFTER he has left the team.
By numerous accounts, manager Terry Francona lost his ability to prevent some of the lax behavior that characterized the collapse. Team sources said Francona, who has acknowledged losing influence with some former team leaders, appeared distracted during the season by issues related to his troubled marriage and to his health.Francona spent the season living in a hotel after he moved out of the Brookline home he shared with Jacque, his wife of nearly 30 years. But he adamantly denied his marital problems affected his job performance.
“It makes me angry that people say these things because I’ve busted my [butt] to be the best manager I can be,’’ Francona said. “I wasn’t terribly successful this year, but I worked harder and spent more time at the ballpark this year than I ever did.’’
Team sources also expressed concern that Francona’s performance may have been affected by his use of pain medication, which he also vehemently denied. Francona said he has taken pain medicine for many years, particularly after multiple knee surgeries. He said he used painkillers after knee surgery last October and used them during the season to relieve the discomfort of doctors draining blood from his knee at least five times.
Francona acknowledged that he consulted the team’s internist, Dr. Larry Ronan, during spring training after one of his children expressed concern about a pill bottle in his hotel room. Francona said the doctor told him he did not have a drug abuse problem. Ronan could not be reached.
“I went and saw the proper people and it was not an issue,’’ Francona said. “It never became an issue, and anybody who knew what was going on knows that.’’
Francona is out the door already, trying to establish a new chapter of his life, having orchestrated a largely successful 8 years as Red Sox manager. But the Globe sees it fit to kick him in the ass AGAIN and smear him in shit, despite the fact he’s not even our manager anymore. “Team sources?” That sounds like journalistic bullshit for “Someone heard something somewhere at…some point which MIGHT be true so I’m going to use it for my story” to me. Francona probably appeared distracted during the season because he probably WAS distracted. Divorce often is an emotionally draining and miserable process. But from what I saw, Francona admirably separated his professional and personal life, weathered the deluge of criticism after the 2-10 start, remained loyal to the players, continued managing as he always did, and had the team at 84-54 by the start of September. I’ll go ahead and say, despite the difficulties of his divorce, he was still able to do his job effectively. It’s not his fault our team shat their pants and sunk faster than the Titanic.
These “Team Sources” also were concerned he was abusing pain killers?? His child, who is concerned for their fathers welfare, wanted to make sure everything was well with their father’s health. If Franconna were this pill popping drug addict, would he have gone and seen a DOCTOR for it? Probably not. Addicts are often marked by a vehement denial that they have even have a problem. Terry, out of respect for his child’s concern, made a responsible decision in visiting a health professional in order to put any potential doubt to rest. I sincerely doubt Lackey and Lester would have instantly started doing more wind sprints if Terry took one less Vicadin a day But no, these wild speculations based on SOLELY a truly terrible month of baseball are the justification for using a man’s personal life as a reason for a team failure. Not only is this wrong, I find it utterly and completely reprehensible. It is an attempt, for no discernible reason, to denigrate the character and reputation of the BEST manager in Red Sox history. Even on his way out, when he had every opportunity to trash the players and organization, Terry Francona handled himself with class. The demon spawn called journalists might try to paint an ugly picture, but for my part, I will always respect, admire, and wish Tito well. I would hope others will remember and see him for who he truly is, not what the media is trying to transform him into.