April 12, 2012

Francona Declines Invitation To April 20 Celebration

Terry Francona, the greatest manager in Red Sox history, will not attend the huge celebration for Fenway park's 100th anniversary next Friday, April 20. Francona rejected an offer made by John Henry last month and declined again on Monday in a telephone conversation with Larry Lucchino.

Francona, who is working on a book with Dan Shaughnessy about his eight years in Boston, explained his decision and the still-raw wounds from last October's debacle. As you may recall, "team sources" leaked various information to a handful of writers from the Globe. From Bob Hohler's article "Inside The Collapse":
Team sources said Francona ... 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. ...

Team sources also expressed concern that Francona's performance may have been affected by his use of pain medication, which he also vehemently denied.
Somebody went out of their way to make me look pretty bad. 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. ...

Larry [Lucchino] called me [on Monday]. 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. ... [T]he 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. ...

Until I'm more comfortable with some answers on what happened at the end of the year, I don't want to have much to do with the organization and that's a shame. ... It was pretty raw at the end of the year. I think I've done a pretty good job of moving on from that. At the same time, I'm never going to forget that.
I completely understand and respect Francona's stance. Even if the smears did not come from (or were orchestrated by) the upper-most levels of management, the silence and non-denials from Henry, Lucchino, and Tom Werner regarding the allegations must have hurt tremendously.

While I'd like the fans at Fenway Park that afternoon to be able to show their appreciation for Francona for the first time since last fall, Francona has to do what he feels is right. Additionally, this is a celebration of the park itself - not a group of players or a team or an event - and Francona's absence won't make much difference.

I do hope, however, that there are a few "We Want Tito" chants ... and I hope time heals some of these wounds so Francona feels good about attending any 10th anniversary festivities in 2014.


9casey said...

This is the problem with management and Tito.

This is not about them and as selfish as it sounds. This is about us it is always about us.

He should be there for us and get over whatever "they" did to him.

And he loses a little credibility for writing a book with CHB.
Its start off negative with his name attached to it..

laura k said...

I agree. I feel bad for Tito - he should be there. By that I mean, the situation that causes his wounds shouldn't be there. Such a nasty business and so typical of baseball. Look what NYY did to Torre, and even to the Babe.

Pokerwolf said...

The one thread in this constant string of issues with GMs and managers is Ol' Larry. I won't be upset when the door finally hits him on the ass on his way out.

It is interesting that Theo didn't bring Tito to the Cubs with him, though. Does anyone have any insight into why that didn't happen?

MacLeodCartoons said...

I wish he was going to be there, but I respect his decision. Every night I miss his chaw-filled lip and agitated face in the dugout. But I also wonder if there was any truth to these stories about him being distracted by eg his marital situation - I'd imagine that's a pretty darn distracting thing.

9casey said...

It is interesting that Theo didn't bring Tito to the Cubs with him, though. Does anyone have any insight into why that didn't happen

Wasn't Theo in room as well when they "dismissed" Tito?

allan said...

Tito will be at Fenway with ESPN on Sunday night, though.

laura k said...

I agree.

= I agree with Allan's post. At the time I typed it, no other comments had been put through yet.

I totally respect Francona's decision.

thomas tetreault said...

Well whatever Larry.
But this seasons start is sure getting Tito off the hook for last year.