February 22, 2008

Tito Must Stay

Contract extension talks continue with Terry Francona, who muses:
This is the best job I've ever had. It's the hardest job I've ever had. I don't know if you can have the passion people have for this team without having the criticism or whatever comes with it. ... Some nights I go home with a headache, but I can't imagine being in some other place.
Sean McAdam, on managing in Boston:
He was prepared for the talk-show callers and the profane comments from fans seated behind the home dugout at Fenway. He was not, however, prepared for a particular writing assignment given to his daughter's middle school English class. The topic: Should the Red Sox fire Terry Francona?
Francona is apparently looking for at least three years -- I am completely in favor of that.

He has a great rapport with his players. He understands and accepts the progressive thoughts of the front office -- and he's wise enough to not yak about them to the media, many of whom are hopelessly mired in the 1870s when it comes to analyzing the game.

When I watch the Red Sox, I want them to win. Every single time. I'm sure Francona feels the same way, but he also knows that the season could last as long as 181 games -- and no team can sustain a win-or-die attitude every night. That can be frustrating, as we saw last September, but it's the right way to manage.

And watching Francona work through two gut-wrenching post-seasons, it's beyond question that when it's truly crunch time -- when there is no margin for error, where even a slight mistake could mean the end of the season -- he is a steady, cold-blooded assassin. He may be the greatest manager the Red Sox have ever had.


Andy said...

...baseball has ever had.

9casey said...

Redsock said:He may be the greatest manager the Red Sox have ever had.

I dont think that is even a question...Hands down the greatest ever

L-girl said...

I'm down with that.

Woe be to the doomsayers this year, baby! We are gonna be ruthless.

chief said...

Here Here.


We are so excited for baseball that we went out and played catch in 2 feet of snow (nice ice layer about 3 inches down, so it was doable).

San Francisco Red Sox Fan said...


Jack Marshall said...

"He may be the greatest manager the Red Sox have ever had." Hmmm. Boy, I'll have to chew on that for a while. If our only criteria is results, it's unarguable. When I think about the stubborn use of Eric Gagne when he was blowing games left and right as the Yankees crept closer, his bizarre unwillingness to pinch hit for the Alex Coras and Trot Nixons in game situations; his horrible handling of the Missing Fourth and Fifth Starters problem in 2006; and his failure to ever give Wily Mo Pena an extended chance to get settled at the plate, even when Papi needed a rest at DH, I have a hard time believing that he is as good a talent and in-game manager as Dick Williams or Ralph Houk, and Tito utterly lacks any originality or imagination. But in every other respect---personnel management, press, calm under pressure, big games---yeah, I guess Redsock is right.

As far as contracts go, he deserves a LIFETIME contract.

redsock said...

If our only criteria is results, it's unarguable.

Results are fairly important.

Jack Marshall said...

No argument there. I'm not a believer in the Gene Mauch Theory, that there are great managers out there who don't win due to no fault of their own.

Amy said...

Great twist ending there, Jack. After your comments, I didn't expect you to say---Give him a lifetime contract!

I certainly agree that they should sign him now and for a long term. He certainly deserves it (though I do agree with the Gagne comment).

Jack Marshall said...

Amy---I mean it too. An organization achieves integrity and continuity by making permanent bonds with the truly key figures in its history. It doesn't matter whether there are better managers around than Tito---he was the one that managed the Sox to the World Championship, something Joe McCarthy and Joe Cronin and all the others couldn't do. Carlton Fisk and Luis Tiant and Dwight Evans should have ended their careers with Sox, just like Ted and Yaz. The Sox were right to sign Schilling, whatever happens. And Big Papi should die with his Sox on. I'll criticize Tito a million times, but I swear on Eddie Bressoud's uniform, you'll never hear me yell for Francona's scalp. Tito forever.

Amy said...

Glad to hear it, Jack. We old fashioned romantic types who like when favorite players stick around for the long run seem outnumbered by the pragmatists/realists on JOS. I know that baseball is a business, blah, blah, blah, and that we want to win at all costs, etc., but still...I like to see the players we know stick around.

Jack Marshall said...

And now he's extended to 2011, according to the bulletin I just got.