Next Friday, the Boston Red Sox will be celebrating the 100th anniversary of Fenway Park. They’ve invited every living former player and manager to the ceremony. We know for sure that one man won’t be there: former Red Sox manager, and two time World Champion, Terry Francona.
In an interview with Dan Shaugnessy, Francona talks about how he feels that the Red Sox ownership made him look bad with a smear piece that came out after the season ended.
“Somebody went out of their way to make me look pretty bad,’’ Francona said, referring to a story by the Globe’s Bob Hohler that cited unnamed club sources expressing concerns that Francona’s job performance may have been affected by his use of pain medication. “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.’’
Red Sox CEO Larry Lucchino gave a typical BS answer, saying he understands how strongly Francona feels, and he accepts his decision. Francona has rejected offers to attend twice, once from owner John Henry last month, and once from Lucchino. Francona claimed that when Lucchino called him this week, the two got into an argument about his attendance. Lucchino, of course, sees absolutely no issue with the way Francona left the team.
“I thought there was some uncertainty as to whether he had actually gotten the invitation,’’ said Lucchino. “He’s going to be here on the 22d for the Sunday night game so I called him and invited him and he declined. It was a sincere invitation for him to come back. He has an exalted place in our history and we were hoping it would be convenient and comfortable for him to come back and we were hoping it would be.’’
Francona fired back with some absolute vitriol towards the ownership group, and didn’t mince his words at all.
“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,’’ Francona said Tuesday. “With all the good things that were accomplished, I just feel pretty strongly about that.
“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. For me to go back and start waving and hugging, I’m just not comfortable doing that. I made it pretty clear to John Henry. When I told Larry that, he said, ‘Well, I haven’t talked to John about it.’ I said, well then how [expletive] important could it be?
“When I spoke to John he made me think they were going to make an effort. John and Larry made it clear to me they weren’t responsible for what was said [in the Globe article]. I thought they owed it to me to get to the bottom of it a little bit.’’
In my mind, Francona is completely in the right in this situation. The situation with the Red Sox ownership essentially pushing him out the door after the team’s collapse is absolutely not fair, and Francona has a right to be really, really pissed off about the situation. There’s nothing wrong with what he’s diong in my mind, and I hope he continues to keep his resolve strong until the truth of the situation comes out.