No doubt plenty of jerks get in Terry Francona’s face. But the central premise of Boston Globe reporter/columnist Dan Shaughnessy’s profile of the Red Sox manager today strikes me as odd. Shaughnessy writes:
Despite getting swept in New York last week, the Sox have the best record in the major leagues and a six-game lead in the American League East. They are likely going to the playoffs for the fourth time in five seasons. They even won a World Series three years ago, and yet Francona — the fourth-year manager who delivered Boston’s first baseball championship in 86 years in 2004 — has an ever-expanding legion of critics. He enjoys none of the public reverence and worship that washes over Bill Belichick in Foxborough.
Really? Maybe my circle is too small, but among people I talk baseball with, Francona is seen as the Sox’ best manager in our lifetime. The only worry I hear is that Tito’s health problems may force him to retire early.
Joe Morgan, also a good manager, was more entertaining, and Dick Williams will be forever revered because of 1967. But Francona’s the man.