September 30, 2011

Francona: "It Was Time For Me To Move On"

John Henry, Tom Werner and Larry Lucchino on behalf of the Boston Red Sox:
We met with Terry Francona, Theo Epstein and Ben Cherington Friday morning to discuss the 2011 season, ways to improve the club in the future, and Tito's status. During the meeting, Tito, Theo and Ben agreed that the Red Sox would benefit from an improved clubhouse culture and higher standards in several areas. Tito said that after eight years here he was frustrated by his difficulty making an impact with the players, that a different voice was needed, and that it was time for him to move on. After taking time to reflect on Tito's sentiments, we agreed that it was best for the Red Sox not to exercise the option years on his contract.

We have enormous respect, admiration and appreciation for Tito and the job that he did for eight years, including two World Series Championship seasons and five playoff appearances. His poise during the 2004 post-season was a key factor in the greatest comeback in baseball history, and his place in Red Sox history will never be forgotten. We wish him only the best going forward.
Theo Epstein:
Tito and I didn't know each other when he was hired eight years ago, but over time we developed not only a great working relationship but also a personal friendship that will always be important to both of us. He proved to be an unflappable leader for our major league club, displaying consistency, calmness, hard work, thoughtfulness, a sense of humor, and faith in the players even at the most difficult of times. Without Tito's commitment over eight years, we would not be the organization we are today. Nobody at the Red Sox blames Tito for what happened at the end of this season; we own that as an organization. This year was certainly a difficult and draining one for him and for us. Ultimately, he decided that there were certain things that needed to be done that he couldn't do after eight years here, and that this team would benefit from hearing a new voice. While this may be true, his next team will benefit more than it knows from hearing Tito's voice. I will miss seeing Tito every day in the manager's office, and I wish him and his family nothing but the best in their next chapter.
Terry Francona:
We met this morning to look back on the 2011 season and to consider the future of the Boston Red Sox, including my involvement with the club. I passed along my frustrations at my inability to effectively reach the players. After many conversations and much consideration, I ultimately felt that, out of respect to this team, it was time for me to move on. I've always maintained that it is not only the right, but the obligation, of ownership to have the right person doing this job. I told them that out of my enormous respect for this organization and the people in it, they may need to find a different voice to lead the team.

In my eight seasons as manager of the Boston Red Sox, I have developed a tremendous appreciation for Red Sox Nation. This is a special place with some of the most knowledgeable and passionate fans in all of baseball. They packed Fenway Park for every game and because of them, I had a special sense of pride coming to work every day. I want to thank John, Tom, Larry and Theo for giving me the opportunity to manage this team through some of the most successful years in this franchise's history. I wish the entire organization and all of Red Sox Nation nothing but the very best.
Francona will hold a press conference at 7 PM (NESN).


San Francisco Red Sox Fan said...

This is the absolute worst part of this horrible season for me. Bad enought the team melted down...but Tito leaving is crushing. The end of an era.

allan said...

This is the absolute worst part of this horrible season for me.

Things can only get better!

But, seriously, I agree. This is extremely upsetting -- and the fact that Lackey will be on the 2012 team -- coupled with all the rumours/implications that are coming out.

tim said...


Truly terrible news.

I started typing a comment in the other thread earlier; it quickly turned into a blog post sized comment, so I am going to turn it into a post on my seldom-used blog.

Thoughts about Tito's departure among other things. A lot of what I wrote about was exactly what Tito said - it seemed like he was not nearly as tight with the players over the past couple of years as he was back in the 2004-2007 years. You don't have to be chums but seeing eye-to-eye with players and being on the same page with everyone is crucial to the success of the organization.

If anything, this speaks to the makeup and the culture of the current players on the team. Losses of people like Pedro, Manny, Trot, Lowell, fuck, even Schilling - he is an asshole but from what I gathered he was a very good team player - and the other guys that weren't all stars but still seemed like decent guys and the additions of these big MFY-esque free agents (Lackey, Crawford), the trade for fucking Gonzalez* have made the Red Sox feel more like a group of individuals as opposed to a team. More on that later.

* - Gonzalez...boy, oh boy, you've really done it this time. The post-G162 comments were enough to turn my question ("Is this guy an asshole or something?") into a conclusion. He seemed like a bit of a weirdo to me, then the whole AZ ASG thing happened and I was skeptical about him. After the whole blaming ESPN bullshit - fuck him.

laura k said...

I'm heartsick.

nick said...

As some of you may know, my resurgent interest in baseball came full on early in 2004 (I really am glad I wasn't emotionally invested in 2003!), so my adult Red Sox experiences have been with Francona at the helm. I will certainly miss him.

I also think it may well be time for him to go. Not so much for the team, though that may well be true, but for him. He came across as more agitated and frustrated this season than down times in past years.

I don't know what has been going on with the team, but it seems clear there are issues. I hope the players take this and at least his initial comments seriously (who knows what crap with churn up in the wake of this).

Go Brewers!

Tom DePlonty said...

He deserved a better ending with the Sox than this. And it's absolutely not going to help put the team back on track, either. What a freaking mess.

nick said...

oh, and, bah, this sucks.

SoSock said...

Not a fan of this decision at all. I truly hope that this was his doing and not the clubs. I say that because if this was due to the FFO's wishes, well I'm one maaaaaad sumbitch. And I'll be pointing to this for a long time to come as the worst decision they've made in a long time. It ranks up in the letting-Manny-go strata.

allan said...

sosher qotes tito at press conf:

"Inability to reach guys that I've been able to in the past"

allan said...

Live feed of Tito

allan said...

"didn't always get feeling players were fiercely loyal to each other"

frustrated at that

allan said...

was that in-fighting among players?

they were "expending energy on things you can't control... sense of entitlement ... [i] wanted all guys to go in one direction"

allan said...

questioned complete support of ownership

allan said...

Theo asked him to maybe take the weekend to think things over.

Seems like it was Tito's call.

allan said...

Fucking class act all the way through.

Got a little bit of meat off the bones, with "entitlement" and not reaching players he had reached before and his uncertainty about having the backing of the FO.

allan said...

Bit of a fucked up day, but it seems like Tito did it mostly his way. Did not want to take the weekend, he has probaly been thinking about this for a long time. Would have been nice to go out with another ring, but ....

tim said...

8 seasons
2 world series
1 alcs
2 alds
5 playoff appearances
2 injury ravaged seasons
1 meltdown
all in all, a great tenure.

FenFan said...

I guess this month had to end with even more bad news for Sox fans. Some may be happy to see Tito gone -- I'm guessing that the Boston media is especially giddy over this -- but I cannot imagine right now who will step in and do a better job right now.

Even worse is that, based on what Francona said, there appears to be a lot of unrest and discourse in the organization, top to bottom.

Perhaps this move was the best option for Tito. Better to go out on his own terms, I suppose.

This off-season will be VERY interesting.

9casey said...

We all saw it. The teams personality was no longer one that matched with Tito, not just this year.

Tito will always be the greastest manager in Red Sox history.

Who will be the next manager?
Colin Cowherd mentioned Mike Sciosia or Bochy.

Who ever it is could Millar be the bench coach?

I want to be able to say they are a bunch of idiots but they are our idiots, again...

Even Yankees fans called me today and said why him, just get rid of some of those assholes on the team.
Tito was always respected by the Yankees and their fans...

johngoldfine said...

Tito can be extremely funny, witty even, and that puts him aces-high in my book.

allan said...

In a previous post, Tim linked to a Globe online feature where fans could type in their insults and "rip the red sox". The one time I looked, there were over 1,000 entries.

Now the Herald has a story headlined: "Let's play the blame game"

Patrick said...

Tito has been classy through and through. I've enjoyed a lot the leadership he brought to the team, and I've respected his style of managing.

What has been getting revealed about the clubhouse culture is disturbing. I hope this stirs things up and helps get everyone's asses in line.

Some writers were saying they thought Girardi should be Manager of the year (though I think Maddon is the obvious choice now), and at first the notion seemed incredulous to me. Now I feel like there might be a little credit to be given to winning managers.

laura k said...

Seems like it was Tito's call.

That's the main thing. If it's his decision, then I'm just sad. If it's not, then I'm flipping angry.

But he's got to do what's best for him, not for us.

"Sense of entitlement" is NOT what you want to hear about your team! No one gives their all and works their hardest with a sense of entitlement hanging about.

laura k said...

Colin Cowherd mentioned Mike Sciosia or Bochy.

If our front office is dumb enough to hire Bruce Bochy, I will... I will...

I can't even think of what I would do, except scream and cry.

laura k said...

I know I'm alone in this, but you all would feel so much better if you watched your sports without the "aid" of the mainstream sports media. It's so much more enjoyable. Good for your blood pressure, too.

matthew said...

I know I'm alone in this, but you all would feel so much better if you watched your sports without the "aid" of the mainstream sports media.

Totally agree. Hell, I can't even leave the volume up for most national game broadcasts--in any sport. I used to watch SportsCenter 3 or 4 times a day. I used to read all the major national sports websites, the Boston papers, multiple blogs, Bill Simmons, just about anything. Now I steadfastly avoid all that garbage, save for the few times my morbid curiosity gets the best of me. My life is significantly better when I avoid the mess. And I enjoy the games more.

Dr. Jeff said...

I thought one of the roles of the team captain was to deal with clubhouse issues. What was Varitek doing during all of this? Was he kicking people's asses? Or was he just moping about riding the pine? If there is going to be a captain it should be someone who plays a lot and tries hard and sets a good example. That leaves Ellsbury and Pedroia.

allan said...

What was Varitek doing during all of this? Was he kicking people's asses? Or was he just moping about riding the pine? If there is going to be a captain it should be someone who plays a lot and tries hard and sets a good example.

Schilling touched on this:

"The days of the manager running through the clubhouse and turning stuff over and fearing guys into performing is gone in baseball. It's been gone for a long time. The smarter managers understood it before a lot of the other managers did: You need players that will police themselves and police each other. We always had that here.
It's very clear, when you look around this team, you've got some guys -- the Pedroias, the Ellsburys, the Papelbons, the Variteks -- they're not guys who are going to stand up in the clubhouse. That's not their makeup. ..."


Dr. Jeff said...

Re: mainstream media. OK, much is lame, esp. on TV (and Murray Chass), but I enjoy Posnanski. They are talking about the "curse" and the fatalistic and masochistic Irish of Boston on "Inside Washington" (my 1 yr old son turned it on to that station and it was coincidentally talking about the Sox as I was typing this).

9casey said...

allan said...
. We always had that here.
It's very clear, when you look around this team, you've got some guys -- the Pedroias, the Ellsburys, the Papelbons, the Variteks -- they're not guys who are going to stand up in the clubhouse. That's not their makeup. ..."

So who dit it Curt, you, maybe Yook, Ortiz,Beckett because from the 2007 team that is really all that is left. Oh yeah and Drew...
Curt is a blowhard , but he did along with and Tito help change the culture a bit.

Is Adrian Gonzalez a problem?
It did seem odd when Tito changed the lineup he was the one that could have been insulted the most. When he was moved he had 1 rbi.

Dr. Jeff said...

"8:29 — Ellsbury beats out an infield single and gets called out, followed by Terry Francona's successfully arguing that Reynolds juggled the catch … THE PLAY HAS BEEN REVERSED! That never happens! Ellsbury quickly steals second and earns some deserved "MVP! MVP! MVP!" chants from the Boston fans on hand." -Simmons on Grantland

I'm curious about this play. Watching it live, it seemed like Francona argued that he was actually safe, then gave up, then Ellsbury told Francona that he thought it was bobbled (reading lips I thought I saw him say bobble), then Francona goes back to the ump and gets it reversed. But if this is really what happened, how could Ellsbury know that it was bobbled? He beat the throw, and would have been past the glove during the bobble. Confusing. And it doesn't matter. But I'm still working through the various stages of grief...

laura k said...

Oh yes, Schilling the baseball historian, the barometer of the clubhouse, the judge of potential... the self-important blowhard. Full of shit as usual.

@Matthew, good to know I'm not really alone.

@Dr Jeff, Posnanski is hardly the mainstream. If we do consider him mainstream, then he's the exception that proves the rule. (Allan extols him and links to him regularly.)

Amy said...

I am late to this post because of family stuff, but just want to add my sad thoughts to the list posted here. I do hope this was really what Terry wanted, and not (as the idiots are reporting) just a cover story for him being fired. That might make me so angry that I might not root for this team with these owners (though I know by April I probably would think otherwise).

I'd love to know who the assholes in the clubhouse are. I find it hard to believe it is anyone who was on the team in 2004 or 2007, but who knows? Ortiz came out and criticized some of Francona's decisions. I am avoiding the MSM as much as possible, so I am not even sure what the rumors are. At any rate, it's a sad statement about the current makeup of the team that they could not manage to overcome their big egos. That also sours me on the team, at least for now.