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Former Red Sox manager Terry Francona had a tumultuous eighth and final season with the Red Sox. His team was on pace in late August to win 100 games, but as we know, there was a lot of trouble in the Red Sox clubhouse. The fact that certain starting pitchers didn’t really care whether the team won or lost if they weren’t pitching shows Francona was losing grip on the team.
Now, we may know why. According to the Boston Globe’s bombshell report, team sources had expressed concern that Francona’s marital and health issues may have negatively affected his performance as manager.
“It makes me angry that people say these things because I’ve busted my [butt] to be the best manager I can be,” Francona told the Globe. “I wasn’t terribly successful this year, but I worked harder and spent more time at the ballpark this year than I ever did.”
The paper said Francona spent the season living in a Brookline hotel after he moved out his Chestnut Hill. He and Jacque, his wife of nearly 30 years, were having some serious marital issues. He “adamantly denied” his marital problems affected his job performance.
The team source also expressed concern about Francona’s excessive use of pain medication. Francona furiously denied that to the paper, saying he has taken pain medicine for years due to recovery from multiple knee surgeries, with the most recent coming last October.
Francona’s son Nick and son-in-law Michael Rice are currently are Marine officers serving in Afghanistan.
I don’t blame the Globe for protecting the identity of this “team source.” I would have done the exact same thing. I do however take exception, considering the likely source of this information about Francona comes from upper management, namely the Red Sox owners.
Can they ever let a high-profile player or manager go without smearing their name? (Gordon Edes stole my thunder.) The same happened to Nomar Garciaparra, Pedro Martinez, Derek Lowe, and Johnny Damon when they all left. Reports of infidelity (Lowe and Damon), excessive partying (Lowe), and unwillingness to play or lead (Nomar) surfaced soon after their departures, whether it was warranted or not.
I can see how Francona may have been distracted by all of these outside issues, but is it really our business to know specifically about his personal life? Is that the reason Josh Beckett, John Lackey, and Jon Lester took advantage of their manager?