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Fire Francona? Nonsense

Sep 29, 2011, 10:30 AM EDT

Terry Francona

Because people naturally look for a fall guy in such instances, the question that was only simmering over the past few days has blown up today: should the Red Sox fire Terry Francona?  It’s the subject of columns. And a survey. And I presume it’s going to be all over talk radio.  But does it make any sense?

Not from where I’m sitting.  Terry Francona didn’t injure Clay Buchholz, Diasuke Matsuzaka, Kevin Youkilis and — I’m guessing to an extent more than anyone has let on — Adrian Gonzalez.  He didn’t cause Carl Crawford and John Lackey to take collective dumps all season and Jon Lester and Josh Beckett to do the same through much of September.  He wasn’t the steadiest hand on the rudder with the bullpen down the stretch, but then again, no one down there gave him any reason for confidence.

A ton of stuff led to this Red Sox collapse. So many things that it’s easy to throw up your hands and say that, given the total failure, the guy who is in charge of everything — Terry Francona — should be held responsible.  But I say that’s baloney.  Maybe he cost a team a win here or there with a questionable decision, but tons of games were lost simply because a lot of highly-paid professionals didn’t do their jobs. Or were hurt. Or both. Blaming Francona may make you feel good for a little while, but I really don’t see how he’s even in the top five of blameworthy Boston Red Sox.

Now, Fredi Gonzalez on the other hand …


126 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. aceshigh11 - Sep 29, 2011 at 10:40 AM

    Firing Francona isn’t the answer.

    He’s kept a steady hand on the rudder of team with famously volatile personalities for 8 years.

    Yes, I do feel he is overly-passive, too close to some of his veteran players, and not a particularly-good in-game strategist, but I don’t know who else is out there that could do a better job.

    This team had a habit of going through managers like underwear before the current ownership’s reign. This eight-year period of relative stability has been a blessing for Sox fans.

    And I haven’t even brought up ’04, ’07 and a VERY-close return to the WS in ’08 yet.

    However, I think a lot of the coaching staff needs to go. Third base coach Bogar botched I don’t know HOW many plays this year, including Scutaro last night. Pitching coach Curt Young clearly has no clue what he’s doing based on pitching performance. Hitting coach Dave Magadan seems to be a non-factor.

    And whoever runs their training and conditioning staff needs to go. This team looks bloated, tired and overly-injury prone.

    Maybe Theo needs to depart too. This guy seems to have lost whatever golden touch he had. The ability of the team to heal from this year is going be somewhat limited due to his myriad bad deals (Lackey, Crawford, etc.)

    But canning Tito? Too easy.

    • proudlycanadian - Sep 29, 2011 at 10:49 AM

      Agreed on Francona, As far as Epstein is concerned, I have to say that he tried to improve the team in the off season and on paper he fielded th best team. Unfortunately, not every move will work out as anticipated. Injuries and sub par performances did in the Red Sox more than management.

      • proudlycanadian - Sep 29, 2011 at 11:01 AM

        Bard lost 4 games in September and had a 10.64 ERA in the month; so why don’t we blame Bard for Boston’s bad result?

      • hystoracle - Sep 29, 2011 at 11:11 AM

        Rays + Andrew Friedman + Joe Maddon + $40 million payroll + Epic comeback = Playoffs

        Red Sux + Theo Epstein + Terry Francona + $150 million payroll + Monumental Collapse = Golf

        Priceless. :)

      • bigharold - Sep 29, 2011 at 11:57 AM

        “As far as Epstein is concerned, I have to say that he tried to improve the team in the off season and on paper he fielded th best team.”

        Sure he sure tried but clearly didn’t get it done. I think Epstein is far more at fault for the RS epic tanking than Francona but I’m not sure that canning him helps at this point in time.

        Francona may need to be replaced as he might be getting to the point that Torre was at with the Yankees in 2005. He’s respected but he’s not getting the desired response from the players. At some point managers need to be changed because the players stop responding. The players are just as responsible as Francona for this mess but you can fire a manager but you can’t fire most of the players.

        I think because of what they, Epstein and Francona, have accomplished they deserve at least another year. Baseball is a results orientated business and in a lot of cases past performance is not as important as recent trends. However, this isn’t most cases, these two have brought winning and stability to the franchise and deserve a bit more latitude. Fireing Francona might seem like a good move but from the outside looking in it comes across as a premature knee jerk reaction.

      • sandpiperair - Sep 29, 2011 at 11:58 AM

        Thanks for your brilliant analysis, hystoracle.

      • marshmallowsnake - Sep 29, 2011 at 1:07 PM

        hystorical – grow up.

      • shftz - Sep 29, 2011 at 2:57 PM

        Players didn’t come through for Francona so the players let down their skipper. Whereas Francona didn’t come through for the fans so Francona let the fans down. Ultimately it’s the skips fault for not managing through injuries and a depleted bullpen to find a way to win games. With that kind of payroll, your reserves should’ve been stacked so injuries, when they occur, wouldn’t matter. There are no excuses! If Maddon can get it done on a shoe-string [budget] and put players out there that can make plays (not necessarily highlight reel plays) but consistent plays than Francona or any skip for that matter should be able and SHOULD have done so as well. Everyone can focus on the RS collapsing but the fact of the matter is that Francona got out-managed…..period!

    • Victor's Secret - Sep 29, 2011 at 11:06 AM

      Theo? Really? Lost his golden touch?

      We’ve won 2 WS’s in 7 years, better than any team. Crawford had an absolutely awful, miserable to watch, everything was terrible sort of year. He was barely better than a replacement player this year. But no one could have predicted this. I still say Crawford was a fantastic signing. We may have overpaid, but we had overpaid for one of the steadiest, consistent baseball players in the game. Defense, speed, offense – if any one of those broke down, he would still a productive player. Unfortunately, he was terrible at all of them this year.

      And Lackey wasn’t necessarily a terrible signing. He has been terrible, but again, he was coming off some very solid years for the Angels, wasn’t an injury risk, had pitches that should translate to Fenway. He has been brutal to watch in a Sox uniform, but again, that’s hindsight.

      Our farm system is one of tops in the league. The Sox are consistently one of the top teams in the league. Every expert predicted the sox would win out this year because of excellent Theo moves. Sometimes, baseball will just get you…

      • aceshigh11 - Sep 29, 2011 at 11:12 AM

        Yes, but remember that a lot of the key contributors to ’04 and ’07 were from before Theo’s tenure (Duquette acquired Manny).

        Also, the Hanley Ramirez for Beckett/Lowell trade was approved when Theo was temporarily gone.

        We don’t win ’07 without those two key acquisitions.

        So in the last four years, Theo has still failed to solve the shortstop solution (although Scutaro had a pretty great year), our catching is hosed, and we’ve had the Daisuke/Lackey/Crawford signing debacles.

        I don’t think Theo has done a terrible job, but he’s somewhat overrated, especially with respect to our ’04 and ’07 successes.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Sep 29, 2011 at 11:16 AM

        Can’t we all just say shit happens, and unfortunately for the Sox, it all happened around the same time?
        [jesus I’m a f’ing Yankee fan defending the Sox, I need a drink]

        Crawford had an absolutely awful, miserable to watch, everything was terrible sort of year

        Crawford collectively was crap, but that’s because he had two really horrible months. Here’s his breakdown:
        [note just posting sOPS+ as a tables here are terrible. sOPS+ is OPS+ vs league so 100 = average]
        April – 22
        May – 126
        June – 112
        July – 69
        August – 111
        Sept/Oct – 100

        And Lackey wasn’t necessarily a terrible signing. He has been terrible, but again, he was coming off some very solid years for the Angels, wasn’t an injury risk, had pitches that should translate to Fenway.

        Eh, Lackey was starting to decline. His K/9 rate was trending down and his BB/9 rate was going up. He’s giving up more LD’s and less GB’s, and he’s moving away from his fastball more.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Sep 29, 2011 at 11:19 AM

        Also, I meant to post this re: Crawford.

        A lot of sabr people were against signing him for that long with that much money because about 90% of his value is tied to his legs. He doesn’t walk a lot, so his OBP is tied to his BA. Because he doesn’t have a lot of power, he’ll need to use his legs to get a hit. If he gets injured, or his speed declines, his value could sink significantly.

        Then add that he plays defense in LF at Fenway, thus further reducing his value because he doesn’t have the room that he did at the Trop.

      • shftz - Sep 29, 2011 at 3:01 PM

        “We’ve won 2 WS’s in 7 years, better than any team”

        Yeah….but you didn’t do anything for 86 years… the math. Thats a helluva long time.

      • shftz - Sep 29, 2011 at 3:04 PM

        on previous comment….was talking clearly on WS.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Sep 29, 2011 at 3:43 PM

        on previous comment….was talking clearly on WS

        Not trying to single you out, but can we stop this crap about the season meaning nothing if you don’t win the WS? It’s idiotic, fairly arrogant (I’m a Yankee fan and I think the line of thinking is bullshit), and, when the cards are down, you could say every team is a failure except the Yanks as they dwarf everyone else.

    • 18thstreet - Sep 29, 2011 at 12:43 PM

      If Tito is too close to the veterans, explain the faith he put in Lavarnway for those last two games.

      He’s the best f’ing manager in baseball. The players failed. He didn’t.

      • aceshigh11 - Sep 29, 2011 at 1:26 PM

        Well, Varitek is a fossil and a Salty was hurt. He didn’t have much choice.

        He is ONE of the best managers in baseball and yeah, I agree, the players failed.

      • awriterorsomething - Sep 29, 2011 at 1:31 PM

        Joe Maddon is the best manager in baseball. He did with a $40MM payroll what Tito couldn’t do with a $150MM payroll and Girardi barely did with a $200+mm payroll after losing his closer to the Yanks and his left fielder to the Red Sox.

        I am no fan of the Rays but the best manager in the AL at the least is Maddon.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Sep 29, 2011 at 2:10 PM

        Girardi barely did with a $200+mm payroll

        Umm, Yanks have the best record in the AL after the season ended, so what did Girardi barely do?

  2. hittfamily - Sep 29, 2011 at 10:42 AM

    Hire Francona? Nonsense

    Who has ever played better under this guy? Crawford? Lackey? Drew?

    Do I need to mention the SS: Cabrera, Renteria, Scutaro.

    • Bill - Sep 29, 2011 at 10:49 AM

      Do Red Sox fans have a weird thing against Scutaro too? He’s been perfectly fine.

    • hittfamily - Sep 29, 2011 at 10:57 AM

      Remember when the Red Sox used to have the best players?

      Woops. They still do. Of the 16 players who a big impact on a game – 5 starters, 8 fielders, DH, setup, closer, the Rays have 4 who are better. combine the 2 teams, and you come up with 4 Rays (Longoria, Price, Shields, Hellickson) and 12 Red Sox.

      Great job Francona!!!

      • shftz - Sep 29, 2011 at 2:44 PM

        Ummmm……so yeah about that. The Rays are still playing in Oct while the RS and their 16 great impact players are sitting at home. Those 16 players must have a tremendous impact on the game seeing that not one of them are still playing.

        Give credit where credit is do. Forget that the RS collapsed and focus on the fact that the Rays played much better small ball in September than the Sox

  3. drewmunny - Sep 29, 2011 at 10:43 AM

    While I’m not necessarily on the fire Francona bandwagon, I have to point out that:
    “Maybe he cost the team a win or two here or there….”
    A win or two would have gotten them in the playoffs, and we wouldn’t be having this discussion.

    • Bill - Sep 29, 2011 at 10:50 AM

      But you could say the same thing about literally every player on the team. There’s no point in blaming just one of the 30 people who might have cost them a win.

      • ditto65 - Sep 29, 2011 at 11:47 AM

        But Tito isn’t a player, and he is supposed to recognize weaknesses. Manager makes mistakes with lineup, impacting “literally every player on the team,” placing them in positions where they will fail.

        I am not of the fire Francona gang. As a Yankees fan I can appreciate what he can do with the Red Sox. And as Drewmunny said, “A win or two would have gotten them in the playoffs, and we wouldn’t be having this discussion.”

    • hittfamily - Sep 29, 2011 at 11:33 AM

      If you could say that every player on the team cost them a win or, you better fire the guy in charge of them. They lost 5 of 7 games to Orioles, and 6 of 7 to the Rays in September. Injuries Be Damned. The worst team this decade still played .400 baseball. This collapse was inconceivable, and don’t try to blame it on 2 injured pitchers!!!

    • A.J. - Sep 29, 2011 at 12:13 PM

      Just or some prospective from outside Sox-ville, if Fredi Gonzalez had only cost the Braves a win or two, the Braves may have won 95 games.

      Though I guess it’s not saying much to point out that Francona is way better than Fredi.

      I’d be ecstatic if the Red Sox fired Francona, just because Francona being on the market raises the chances of the Braves firing Gonzalez like 1 or 2%.

      It may not sound like much, but if you followed the Braves or Red Sox chances of not making the playoffs, you are well aware that 1 or 2% may just pay off now and then.

  4. riverace19 - Sep 29, 2011 at 10:46 AM

    He has made mistakes:
    Lavarnway hitting in the 9th, changing the batting order for game 162, and playing Aviles way too much including last night.
    He leaves starters in too long.
    He’s still a damn good manager and if the Sox make him take the fall for this he won’t be unemployed long.

    • Panda Claus - Sep 29, 2011 at 11:47 AM

      Lavarnway was two days past hitting two HR’s against the same team. I would’ve left him in to hit also.

      Aviles, yeah, that’s a second guess you have to question.

      Francona is the least of Boston’s problems. The depleted pitching staff, that’s on Theo.

    • 18thstreet - Sep 29, 2011 at 12:48 PM

      Who was supposed to play third, if not Aviles?

  5. xpensivewinos - Sep 29, 2011 at 10:52 AM

    Not Francona’s fault. Far too many things happened collectively for this to be Francona’s fault, no matter how convenient (and stupid it is) to blame the manager in this instance. I think Epstein is far more at fault for the team he’s put together (and how he decided to spend all of that money), but having said that, I think he can and will fix this mess.

    No one on earth predicted or even joked that Crawford would be this worthless. Since we can’t clone Pedroia and Ellsbury, we’ll have to find another way.

    They’ve got money coming off the books, hopefully they can identify a few players via trade or free agency and get it right. They my have to bite the bullet on a few guys as well in order to reshape the roster, but a total house cleaning is not necessary.

    Weird year……..this too shall pass.

    • hystoracle - Sep 29, 2011 at 11:14 AM

      Your right, its not his fault. He manages the Red Sox. Who suddenly this year remembered they are the Red Sox. Up until 2007, the Red Sox had the choke down to a science. Looks like they remembered how it was done.. In a Monumental & Epic way! Luckily for them the Braves did the same.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Sep 29, 2011 at 11:21 AM

        Up until 2007, the Red Sox had the choke down to a science

        As much as I’d love for it to not have happened since I’m a Yanks fan, 2004 did happen. So no idea why you are referencing 2007.

  6. pisano - Sep 29, 2011 at 10:53 AM

    Don’t blame this on Francona, this guy is a good manager. He can’t control the injuries, and under performances of his players. He did all that he could with what he had. I don’t have to name names, but we all know which players didn’t live up to their expectations. I’ll will guarantee one thing, if the Sox are looking for a scapegoat and are foolish enough to fire him, there will be teams waiting to hire him. This guy is a winner, and I’m no way near a Boston fan, on the contrary, I don’t know which team I dislike more the Angels or the Red Sox, but lets give Francona a fair shake.

  7. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Sep 29, 2011 at 11:02 AM

    If Francona was under contract for next season and beyond, I would say there is no way they should fire him. But (I have seen it reported that) his contract just expired. How do the Sox come out an announce that they gave him a 2+ year extension after this? Tough sell with the fan base…

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Sep 29, 2011 at 11:22 AM

      It’s part of the fan’s m.o. There were message board postings calling for Belicheck’s firing a few years back, saying it’s all because of Brady. Then when Brady went down and Cassel lead them to an 11-5 season, they said they should trade Brady since it’s Belicheck’s system and not the QB that’s the hero.

      Give them time. Unfortunately they have a lot of it…

  8. trevorb06 - Sep 29, 2011 at 11:04 AM

    If anybody thinks Francona needs to be fired then they should also be harping on the Twins firing Gardenhire. We all know it’s his fault that 6 of the 8 opening day starters landed on the DL at some point (7 of 9 if you count the DH).

    All jokes aside this just goes to show that being a good manager isn’t enough if some of the players that they depend on become undependable.

  9. drmonkeyarmy - Sep 29, 2011 at 11:04 AM

    While I don’t necessarily blame Francona for this situation, I think he should probably be relieved of his duties. There is no excuse for this type of collapse. The Red Sox might need a new voice in the dugout.

    • phillyphreak - Sep 29, 2011 at 11:25 AM

      Then Lester, Beckett, Crawford, Lackey,etc should be relieved of their duties too.

    • drmonkeyarmy - Sep 29, 2011 at 12:01 PM

      All I’m saying is this, no matter how great a manager is, eventually the players stop hearing his voice. Happens across all sports. Sometimes a new voice is what is needed for a team.

      • deathmonkey41 - Sep 29, 2011 at 1:03 PM

        I don’t think what you’re saying is crazy. I felt the same way about Torre with the Yankees. Even before the Yankees blowing the 3-0 lead to the Yankees in the playoffs, I thought the Yanks should have made a change. Like you say, sometimes the manager’s voice just becomes noise- especially when you’re a “player’s manager”. I thought they had stopped responding to him for whatever reason. Is that what happened with Francona? I have no idea.

  10. Francisco (FC) - Sep 29, 2011 at 11:22 AM

    Besides they don’t need to fire him, they could just NOT re-hire him, as far as I know they haven’t picked up his options for next year or the next. Not that declining those options is the SMART thing to do. I say let him try again!

  11. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Sep 29, 2011 at 11:31 AM

    Maybe they can trade with Toronto to get John Farrell back. I think they miss him. Crawford for Farrell?

  12. Old Gator - Sep 29, 2011 at 11:31 AM

    What difference does it make? When you’re emotionally exhausted, surfeit with that paradoxical toxin of objectless hostility and self-recrimination, feeling the onus of ancient anathema welling back up through the warp and woof of your team destiny, as though eighty years and change’s worth of futility were cycling back to lay leadenly across your clavicles – in other words, when you’re a Beanbag fan – you have to think in terms of economy of effort.

    Francona doesn’t have to be responsible. Scapegoats don’t ever need to be responsible – just ask any Republican. Francona only has to be there. If you don’t have a rope handy, or haven’t got a ladder to throw it over the light pole lamp arm, get out your beanbag guns and just blast away.

    • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Sep 29, 2011 at 12:43 PM

      It may still be too soon for that particular imagery:

      • Old Gator - Sep 29, 2011 at 12:51 PM

        Seven years is long enough. Or too long. How many municipalities do you know of that wait almost nine decades to have something to celebrate about, and then respond to having something to celebrate about by handing out lethal crowd control weapons they don’t know are lethal to untrained cops they don’t know are untrained and then authorize them to “accidentally” murder their own kids with them for nondestructively celebrating? This is the kind of institutional callousness and stupidity that needs to be dusted off and kept fresh in memory – given the ease with which shit like this happens anyway. And I humbly submit that parody and satire are perfectly viable mediums through which to keep it there.

    • mickstuder - Sep 29, 2011 at 3:10 PM

      I was trying to resist – political metaphors – but your comment about scapegoats and Republicans was too juicy to simply passover – c’mon – if Obama goes down next year and he probably should – it will be because he couldn’t manage the mess that was left to him and the country by Republicans – Democrats didn’t elect Bush and the Red Sox Players didn’t hire Francona – sometimes it’s as simple as – you have to take responsibility when your the one/group responsible – no matter how much of a nice guy you are! Steve Bartman was a scape goat – Francona and the Republicans are culpable

      • Old Gator - Sep 29, 2011 at 3:39 PM

        I agree heartily with your insight into the fact that no one could have managed the mess Bush left, but really, you have to admit that the Democrats somehow managed to make themselves look even worse mismanaging the response than the Republicans did making the mess in the first place. If Reagan was the Teflon™ President, Pelosi was the Velcro™ Speaker of the House. And Obama, rather than looking like a leader, managed to make himself look like some distantly benign observer while the House and Senate Democrats splattered together their (very likely) constitutionally unsustainable patchwork crazyquilt of a health care “reform.” Did the Rethugnicans avidly and merrily do everything they could to subvert that system? Yeah, sure they did, but by the same token they didn’t really have to do much, did they?

        Anyway, the point of my comment above was precisely that the Republicans are a despicable bunch of scapegoaters – not to mention overpaid hookers for their corporate pimps. I certainly wasn’t pulling any punches about their culpability. No one else points more fingers or belches more platitudes about taking responsibility while taking so little of it themselves.

        But Francona is a victim of circumstance. Carl Crawford wasn’t his hire. Cantor, McConnell, Boner and the rest of that wretched bunch of corporate whores in Congress and the Senate -from both parties – were ours.

  13. Glenn - Sep 29, 2011 at 11:35 AM

    THe moron buzz in Boston (sports talk, really), is that when you have a collapse this big, someone has to pay, you can’t fire the whole team, ergo you have to fire the manager. Has anyone heard of logic?

    • bigxrob - Sep 29, 2011 at 11:51 AM

      Not on any local sports talk radio in any city.

    • Jay Seaver - Sep 29, 2011 at 12:01 PM

      Actually, there is a certain logic to it beyond scapegoating. Lots of things didn’t work in September. Some were beyond human control (injuries), some can be traced to people who can’t be cast aside easily (Lackey), and some fall on people who can be replaced (Francona). Is Francona the biggest problem with this team? Not hardly, even if you believe he’s a problem at all. But changing the manager is a thing that Henry, Epstein, and company can do. It won’t solve all the problems, but it can maybe solve some, and considering how narrow the margin was this year, solving some problems could make the difference.

      (Note: I don’t really think replacing Francona is a great idea. I’m just saying that Theo Epstein’s job over the next few months is to upgrade the team, and given how relatively set the roster is, the coaching staff is a place they have to consider.)

    • offseasonblues - Sep 29, 2011 at 12:17 PM

      Do you really expect logic in Boston sports talk the morning after a disaster?
      What we need (and have plenty of) is time.

      I think the question is whether Francona wants to come back. What’s his health status / energy level? How badly does he want to right this wrong? But now isn’t the time to ask that question It sucked to be a Boston Red Sox fan this morning, and I imagine it must be even worse to be part of the organization that failed so miserably. It’s all too raw. Time will help.

    • bigharold - Sep 29, 2011 at 12:34 PM

      “… you can’t fire the whole team, ergo you have to fire the manager.”

      Actually there is some logic there. First, I don’t think Francona should be fired. Unless the RS FO knows something that the has been made public he’s earned at least one more year. And, unless they are willing to accept the very real posibility that the new manager might take the first half of next season to get the team working the way he thinks it should and thereby risk yet another playoffless season.

      That being said, it is the manager’s job to get results out of players and he didn’t get the desired results. Yes, the players are equally responsible but it’s true that you can’t fire the whole team. There are a lot of similarities between Torre and Francona. I thought Torre should have been canned after the 2004 ALCS but I understood why he wasn’t. Francona presided over the same type of failure except instead of his team having four bad games it was a slow motion train wreck of the entire month of September. He is responsible for part of that and even more responsible the beginning of the year when they started 2-10 because the team clearly wasn’t ready.

      Francona deserves at least another year and I think that the RS would be best served for the sake of stability to grant him that year. Frequently changing managers is like rebuilding to an extent which could translate it to more regression in the standings. Interestingly, one of the last times a successful team changed managers and actually got better to the point that they won the WS was in 2004; the RS hiring Francona. Canning Francona might feel good but it’s just making him the fall guy for a lot of other issues with the RS. They were NEVER as good as they were touted before the season.

  14. 12strikes - Sep 29, 2011 at 11:58 AM

    ” Maybe he cost a team a win here or there with a questionable decision”

    A win here or there and the Sox are in the playoffs

  15. jimeejohnson - Sep 29, 2011 at 12:02 PM

    Craig: there are a huge number of Red Sox fans who would vehemently disagree with you. I’m not one of them! The Red Sox should go down in history as the most overrated team, ever.

  16. pellypell - Sep 29, 2011 at 12:06 PM

    As a Sox fan, I will be the first guy yelling at the team when FranCOMA makes a bonehead move. But fire him? Only a pink hat would spew such nonsense.

    • pellypell - Sep 29, 2011 at 3:04 PM

      For those so quick to want to fire him, remember that the next time you fudge something up at work. And if you always make the right decisions, please apply within. I got all the jobs in the world for people who don’t make mistakes.

      • shftz - Sep 29, 2011 at 3:11 PM

        Trust me….if you make a mistake on the same level as Francona did in your respective field, then you should be fired. Francona didn’t show up for work late or miss his sales goals…..He lead a team that at the beginning of September was in the WC driving seat and let it slip away. That’s much bigger than making a simple one time mistake…thats huge.

        I’m not saying fire him……I’m just saying.

  17. - Sep 29, 2011 at 12:10 PM

    I see a lot of people in agreement here. That Theo and Tito should be retained. That’s good. People fail to answer this question when firing someone for spite. Who are you going to get that would be an improvement as GM or Manager. I can’t think of anyone. That alone should keep them in their current positions.

  18. miketreedy - Sep 29, 2011 at 12:24 PM

    I just wish they could fire Lackey and Crawford to get out of those contracts! Crawford may be better last year but Lackey is done.

    • pisano - Sep 29, 2011 at 2:06 PM

      miketreedy….You hit the nail on the head, 200mil+ for those two is a crime they ought to be made to give the money back to Boston. Crawford may live up to expectations, but that’s a big MAY, but Lackey is a total douche bag and ought to be traded if they can find a team dumb enough to take him.

  19. APBA Guy - Sep 29, 2011 at 12:28 PM

    Speaking as a disinterested observer, I don’t think Francona was the problem for Boston. I think it was two things: the accumulation of injuries, and the quality of the opposition.

    Look at the injuries Boston had that impacted win totals for the year, not just in September: Gonzalez (shoulder), Youklis (various), Lowrie (out for months), Dice-k, Buchholz, etc. And despite what he says, Lester’s FB is 3-4 mph less than last year. And was Drew’s decline this year not due in part to some mid-season injuries?

    But the biggest two injury issues were Buchholz and Youklis. Against quality opposition you can’t have those two guys down for (nearly) half the year each .

    For the Rays, they turned out to be a much better team than pundits predicted. The losses of Crawford and Garza were covered by the call up of Jennings and getting a full year of Hellickson. The team was completely healthy in September, and well coached. The Rays’ injuries impacted them early in the season, primarily when Longoria was out and then had to play himself into shape. Once healthy, and in the final series, he was 4 for 8, 2 HRs, and 6 BB. Think about not having that level of production in your lineup for two months. That’s what Tampa had to endure at the start of the season, and that’s what Tito had to work around in September with Youklis out, as Youklis gives the Red Sox the same level of production.

    It wasn’t Francona. The question Theo and Francona have to answer is: where will the depth come to cover for injuries next year? As an older team, they will have injuries.

    And finally, they were playing at home, which is an advantage.

  20. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Sep 29, 2011 at 12:46 PM

    Who do the Boston talk radio folks want to see as the manager instead? It is not an easy job, so you can’t just throw anybody in there and expect better things to happen.

  21. exactapicker - Sep 29, 2011 at 1:09 PM

    letter grades for the team:
    Crawford-F (he can’t even make a catch that isn’t a routine fly)
    Right Field-C
    Gonzalez-B+ (lost the A because he had no clutch hits in September!)
    Papelbon-B+ (sorry, you can’t get an A when you blow the most important save of the season)
    Catcher-B+ (you have to admit that Salty and Tek had a pretty good season in the aggregate)
    Nancy Drew-F
    SS-D (fielding not so good)

    Team Defense-F
    Pitching Coach-F
    Starting Pitching-D
    Bullpen-C+ (where were they in September???)
    Francoma-C (why, oh why did you start Wakefield so much?)

  22. psousa1 - Sep 29, 2011 at 1:41 PM

    The only thing I didn’t like about Francona was, at least publically, if say a Lackey got his ass kicked he would tell the media that Lackey had good stuff or Crawford has taken some good swings. He would let starters stay in too long when it was evident they needed to be pulled. Also – as much as I like Wakefield: You’re telling us Aceves wouldn’t have given you more quality starts than him or Weiland? Did he put his foot on the throat of this team and push? I don’t pretend to know him or these people but I don’t think so

    Why did Theo let Kevin Milwood out of the contract when it was apparent pitching was getting thinner? Millwood left in August when it was apparent their was a problem.

    Sox fans are not taking this hard as people think. It was not a likeable team. It was put together like the Yankee teams after a year they don’t get in or go down the tubes: Throw money at it. Fans got turned off to that. (I did). Curt Schilling brought up an outstanding point on WEEI in Boston this morning. He said it seems there was an organization wide decision to get rid of the ‘Idiot’ culture who helped win the 2004 and 2007 series’. These were character guys (maybe not Manny) who knew how to take care of business first and stats came second. Epstein discounts carmraderie as something that is a fabrication.

  23. heynerdlinger - Sep 29, 2011 at 1:41 PM

    Your hand goes on the tiller. The rudder is in the water.

  24. openseason51 - Sep 29, 2011 at 2:12 PM

    Damn Yankees!!! Boston fans should never cheer for those Bronx bums. Ever!!!
    Fine the manager and coaches $1.00 for lack of “balls”. Fine the players $.50 for being lazy. and FORGET ABOUT IT! NEXT YEAR BOYS!! But if you do it again, good bye.

  25. henryd3rd - Sep 29, 2011 at 2:17 PM

    In the Old Testament, a goat that was symbolically burdened with the sins of the people and then killed on Yom Kippur to rid Jerusalem of its iniquities. Similar rituals were held elsewhere in the ancient world to transfer guilt or blame. In ancient Greece, human scapegoats were beaten and driven out of cities to mitigate calamities. In early Roman law, an innocent person was allowed to assume the penalty of another; Christianity reflects this notion in its belief that Jesus died to atone for the sins of mankind.

    Bring Francona and Epstein back!

    Read more:

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