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Blog Entry

True to himself, Francona moves on from Sox

Posted on: September 30, 2011 12:15 pm
Edited on: September 30, 2011 5:42 pm
 
As the season collapsed around him, Terry Francona kept his cool.

In fact, as the greatest collapse ever played out, Francona seemed to be at peace. He wasn't accepting failure, but he seemed fully accepting of what that failure could mean for him.

General manager Theo Epstein could be heard in the stands openly questioning some of his manager's in-game moves, according to sources. But Francona never was heard complaining that Epstein handed him a flawed roster.

Francona wasn't comfortable with his team, although the extent of his discomfort didn't come out until the season was over. But he was always comfortable with himself.

He'll walk away from Boston now, with the team announcing Friday that it has declined his two-year option for 2012-13. But he'll walk away at peace.

"I've got to be true to myself, and what I believe in," Francona said the other day.

In a statement released Friday afternoon, Francona said he had told ownership that "they may need a different voice to lead the team."

The breakup is no great surprise. Collapses take their toll, and even if Epstein was being honest Thursday when he said the organization wasn't "blaming" Francona, it's the losing that led to this.

Maybe it's even the right thing for the Red Sox, as good a manager as Francona has been and as much as he has won. Maybe the players had become too comfortable with his style.

"If I come in and overthrow the [postgame food] spread, that's not me," he said. "I don't want [the players] to know I'm going through it with them."

It worked, like no Red Sox manager's style had worked in years. Francona won two World Series in Boston, and years from now that will dominate his legacy, much more than this year's collapse.

It didn't work this year, though. Issues with the starting pitching were much more to blame for the collapse than issues in the clubhouse, but Francona admitted at a press conference Thursday that those clubhouse issues existed.

We'll never know how much a different manager could have done to change things. We'll never know if a more disciplined clubhouse would have led to more wins.

We do know that Francona wasn't comfortable with his final Red Sox team. We also know that right to the end, he was comfortable with himself.






Category: MLB
Comments

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