The real reason Francona changed his mind

Terry Francona, the only manager Red Sox manager to win a World Series for the team in the last 94 years, originally was not going to participate in the Fenway Park 100th anniversary celebration this weekend.

The man who managed the squad that broke The Curse (and won a second title to take the “It was a fluke” ammo away from the enemy) was still hurt from how he was let go and thrown under the bus by the organization after last season.

Well he’s changed his mind.

He’s going to be there.

Some people are assuming he changed his mind because Francona is a classy guy and decided to take the high road.

Others think his former players made the case and got him to cave.

Some conspiracy theorists think that his new employer, ESPN, is making him go.

Nonsense. The reason is quite simple. Francona gets to come back and give the Red Sox the ultimate middle finger.

Think about it.

First of all Francona will get a thunderous ovation from the fans.

But more importantly, Francona can look around and ask Larry Lucchino  some questions, like:

“Hey, how’s it going since I left?”

“How’s team chemistry? Has it improved?”

“Team morale? Has it turned around?”

“Does the club look intense?”

“Are they more disciplined now?”

“Hey, how’s the injuries here now? I bet with the improved conditioning, nobody is on the Disabled List!”

“How does the bullpen look? I know people thought I didn’t handle the pitching staff well. No doubt it is improved.”

“Are the fans happy? Do they like the direction the team is heading in?”

And when Lucchino fumes while not answering, Francona can wave to the fans who will probably be chanting “Tito come back! Tito come back!”

It is the greatest vindication for Francona.
Imagine getting the chance to have 35,000 people tell your former employer that they were wrong.

AND look like you are taking the high road in the process?

It is too delicious for Francona to pass up!
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The Nationals fascinate me… at least for now

The other day I was using my At Bat MLB app on my phone. I could have listened to the Red Sox game or the Yankee game. Yet somehow I was drawn to the Nationals and the Astros game.

OK, there were some logical reasons to check that game. It was later in the game (probably the 7th or 8th) and it was a 1-0 game so it was potentially an exciting finish. And it was.

But the Red Sox are stumbling around and the Yankees so far haven’t been dynamic.
A team like the Nats are, in the own way, a little more interesting.

With tonight’s win against the Astros, the Nationals have won 3 straight and are 10-3.
Granted, they’ve played the Mets, Cubs, Reds and Astros so far. It isn’t exactly the strongest part of the schedule.

But guess what? When a team beats teams they are SUPPOSED to beat, then they are laying down the foundation of a good year.

I’m sure the Mets, Cubs, Reds and Astros all looked at THEIR schedule and thought the Nationals were beatable.

Beat the teams you are supposed to beat and hold your own against the best team, and then you have a chance to have a winning club. With 10 wins already, the Nationals are more than 10% of the way to a 90+ win season.

Now keep in mind that the Phillies offense isn’t exactly clicking, the Mets are coming back to Earth, the Marlins haven’t blasted out of the gate and the Braves are unpredictable.

Every year there is a team that comes out of nowhere to make a playoff run.
Also every year an unlikely team gets off to a fast start and then comes crashing back to Earth (I’m looking at YOU 2011 Cleveland Indians.)

The Nats might be the latter. But they have enough pitching to send John Lannan to the minors. And they do have the potential jolt of energy that Bryce Harper’s promotion could bring.

They are winning games they should win. You can’t ask for much more than they have delivered.

10% of the job is done. Will they get the other 90% done?
It’s early… but potentially interesting.

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This is the face of a man who is missing his job on ESPN

Seriously, how much is Bobby V missing the desk in Bristol?
At ESPN he could flash his “Know it all” smile, make waves and not really have any reprecussions if he is ever wrong.

He should have taken the Kevin Kennedy route.
Stay in the studio. Have people wonder why he doesn’t get another managing gig instead of getting back in the dugout and showing why.

Another day in Boston and another nice pitching performance wasted.
Bobby V must be wondering if he would have been a better fit in Miami or Baltimore or the other potential landing spots over the years.

As for now, he’s at the helm of a team that is already dysfunctional and can’t seem to synch up their hitting and their pitching.

As Bobby V pines for Bristol, let’s update the tally.

DODGED BULLET GAMES -3

April 9 – 4-2 win in Toronto. (A day after blowing leads in the 9th and 11th, the Sox win their first game of the year with a 3 run 9th inning rally capped off by Ryan Sweeney’s 2 out go ahead RBI single)
April 14 – 13-5 win against Tampa Bay. (Buchholz fell behind 4-0 in the first but the Sox slugged 5 homers to come from behind.)
April 15 Р6-4  win against Tampa Bay. (David Ortiz doubled twice including a tie breaker in the 6th.)

TEETH GRINDER GAMES – 5

April 5 – 3-2 loss in Detroit. (The Red Sox rally to tie the season opener with 2 outs in the 9th only to lose on a bases loaded walk off single by Austin Jackson.)
April 8 – 13-12 loss in Detroit. (The Red Sox bullpen surrender a 3 run game tying homer in the 9th to Cabrera and Avila smacked a 2 run, 2 out walk off come from behind homer to win it in as brutal a loss as you will ever see.
April 11 – 3-1 loss in Toronto. (Lester throws a complete game but Ricky Romero shut down Boston’s bats and Rajai Davis manufactured a critical run.)
April 16 – 1-0 loss against Tampa Bay. (Daniel Bard walks in the only run of the game with 2 outs in the 7th.)
April 18 – 6-3 loss against Texas. (A fine Beckett performance was wasted by Napoli’s homer)

-2.

As Bobby V is toiling in Boston, I have a feeling Terry Francona is enjoying the view from Bristol.

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