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Terry Francona will be at the Fenway 100th Anniversary celebration after all

Apr 18, 2012, 4:00 PM EDT

Terry Francona AP

Old conventional wisdom: Thank goodness Terry Francona won’t be at the Fenway Park 100th Anniversary celebration because it would be too much of a distraction.

New conventional wisdom: Thank goodness Terry Francona will be at the Fenway Park 100th Anniversary celebration because, man, with the way things are going, we need a distraction!

Former Boston Red Sox manager and current ESPN analyst Terry Francona has changed his mind and says he will be attending the Red Sox’s 100th anniversary celebration of Fenway Park on Friday afternoon.

Francona had originally said he would not attend because of the way things ended between him and the Red Sox after the collapse of 2011.

Actually, I’d like to think that he’s going to be there to gloat.  That he’ll soak in the cheers of the fans as cameramen are all over Bobby Valentine and team brass as they try to act like nearly 40,000 people aren’t cheering their heads off and wishing desperately that Tito was still in charge.

  1. oldpaddy - Apr 18, 2012 at 4:06 PM

    I would welcome Francona back with open arms.

    • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Apr 18, 2012 at 4:08 PM

      In a second.

      • wendell7 - Apr 18, 2012 at 10:03 PM

        He’ll get the biggest ovation of anyone there.

  2. bloodysock - Apr 18, 2012 at 4:08 PM

    Francona would have long regretted not attending.

    • bigharold - Apr 18, 2012 at 5:23 PM

      He caved!! The way they stabbed him in the back on the way out the door he should have stuck to his guns.

      • 18thstreet - Apr 18, 2012 at 5:50 PM

        No, no — I think Craig’s right. The way they’re going to cheer for him and boo Valentine?

        What kind of person, in Francona’s position, would pass that up? No one I know.

      • stex52 - Apr 18, 2012 at 9:11 PM

        Sometimes the best revenge is letting the rest of the world see you have more class than the other guys. I think Tito is just doing that.

  3. Jack Marshall - Apr 18, 2012 at 4:20 PM

    I don’t understand that sentiment at all. Francona had to go, and Valentine is the superior manager, and the better man for this team, now and today. The team just took 3 out of 4 from the Rays, and is vastly under-rated, for no good reason. Over all, Tito was the third best Sox manager I ever watched, obviously the most successful and perhaps the most likable, and I’m glad he’ll be at the celebration, but the enmity toward Booby V, defies logic and fairness.

    • jimbo1949 - Apr 18, 2012 at 4:31 PM

      Booby V = Freudian Slip or what

    • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Apr 18, 2012 at 4:42 PM

      The Sox are not a bad team per se, but IF they make the playoffs they’ll surely be seeing Detroit or Texas. That won’t be pretty. After 4 games I think the Sox have already played those two teams enough.

    • bigxrob - Apr 18, 2012 at 4:50 PM

      “now and today”?
      What about tomorrow and the day after today?

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Apr 18, 2012 at 5:39 PM

      Francona had to go, and Valentine is the superior manage

      What in their records shows this? Just curious

      • 18thstreet - Apr 18, 2012 at 5:59 PM

        If America were a better place, Red Sox fans would able to storm the offices at Yawkey Way with pitchforks and install Terry Francona as Manager for Life, replete with the kind of gigantic sunglasses and military regalia 1970s Latin American dictators wore. And then Nick Cafardo would stand on the steps of the State House on Beacon Hill and we’d all throw hubcaps at him.

    • kingbuccaneer - Apr 19, 2012 at 1:27 AM

      Lmao at you thinking Bobby V is the superior manager and the “better man” because of 1 series in mid-April.

      Also, people have low expectations for the Red Sox because of this and their atrocious pitching staff.

  4. xpensivewinos - Apr 18, 2012 at 4:22 PM

    He was manager of two World Series Championships. He’s arguably one of the most important figures in their 100 year history. A lot of famous guys in Red Sox history never won jack! He would have regretted not going for the rest of his life.

    This is his payback. The place is going to go bananas for him and it’s his way to stick it to the Red Sox owners and Valentine.

    Don’t see how it could have worked out any better for him.

    • 18thstreet - Apr 18, 2012 at 5:51 PM

      Best manager in team history. Easily.

      DO YOU REALIZE THE IDIOTS WHO HAVE LED THIS TEAM?

      • TheBloozah - Apr 18, 2012 at 9:20 PM

        If this is a repost, 18thstreet, sorry. I want to thank you on your observations and to point out I, too, referred to Brother Tito in that Latin American leader image LOL over on my blog. Couldn’t reply under that comment. I guess u can click my name & find it. Diariesofabloozah at wordpress. Anyway, thanks, again!!

  5. frankvzappa - Apr 18, 2012 at 4:26 PM

    It’s never too late for a massive financial apology…

  6. markfrednubble - Apr 18, 2012 at 4:34 PM

    While the popular sport in the Boston media will be to snark and snicker through the political implications and the juxtaposition of Tito’s return against Bobby V’s early struggles in the Red Sox dugout, I am simply happy and looking forward to standing up from my seat on Friday to give the best manager we’ve ever had a long and loud ovation. I am not sure anyone will get a more emotional and powerful response from the Fenway crowd than Tito will.

    The jury is still out on whether Francona had to be replaced after the September collapse, which may have been caused as much by injuries and the presence of two damned good divisional opponents as it was by managerial complacency or chicken and beer. Regardless, I thought at the time and still believe it was time for change, both upstairs and in the dugout. Three straight years out of the postseason, a long list of horrendous free agent signings, and a historically bad September must lead to change.

    Based on the media, you would think most fans already dislike Valentine and are disgusted with this team. I don’t think that’s the reality among the real fans. Most people I talk to like the new guy, think he’s got a great chance to succeed here, and are giving him a pass for the stupid comments about Youkilis. It will take an awful lot for him to ever reach the heights of his predecessor, though.

    • oldpaddy - Apr 18, 2012 at 4:47 PM

      Who are these friends that like bobby v? I live in Massachusetts and I’ve yet to hear anyone say they like bobby v.

      • Victor's Secret - Apr 18, 2012 at 5:20 PM

        I live in Boston, and I don’t dislike Bobby V. I’m certainly not particularly thrilled with how he’s handled the media or rosters yet, but I’m also willing to give him some room for error 2 weeks into the season.

        If all goes well, he and his outsized personality will entertain fans + sports radio, distract the press from bothering the players on every minute detail of their lives, and be a hardline manager that the Sox really could have used towards the end of last year.

        It’ll be fun to watch no matter how this season pans out. Either the Sox excel under the new leadership, or everything crashes in a flaming, Bobby V-inspired wreck. Viewed through the right lens, it’s going to be a great year to be a Boston fan.

      • markfrednubble - Apr 18, 2012 at 5:36 PM

        I try hard to form my opinions about Red Sox players and managers with my own eyes and ears and not through the filter of the Boston media, even though t’s impossible to not be influenced by some of that. There are a lot of writers and talk show hosts and TV commentators who over-react to every decision and every loss, every dumb quote and every sour look. It’s a long season and I’ve been watching this team for almost 50 of them. It’s really easy to hate Valentine right now, in fact it’s trendier than the spring fashions on Newbury Street. His comments about Youkilis were stupid and ill-advised and he’s fallen on his sword for three days. He pulled a Grady Little in leaving Bard in the game when he was toast, but he’s also trying to manage a bullpen that doesn’t have a lot of great options right now.

        When this guy got the job, we heard more “experts” tell us all winter what kind of manager he is, what kind of person, bla bla bla. I love Tito, and I decided I’m just going to make my own judgment about Valentine and I won’t do it prematurely. If you try and judge Valentine with your own ears and eyes and ignore what everyone says about the guy, you may find he’s pretty good at this. Or maybe not. One thing I do know is that it’s way too early for any of us to know.

    • 18thstreet - Apr 18, 2012 at 5:54 PM

      Mark, that’s a mature response from a real fan.

      Speaking as a non-member of the media, let me add that most Sox fans I know (and I don’t like in Massachusetts any more) want Bobby Valentine tossed into the Frog Pond so that we can throw beer can at his worthless butt. I’m disgusted by him, and disgusted by the management that choose him.

      The only time I’ve ever been this mad at the team was when they let Mo Vaughn go (I was wrong about that one).

      • markfrednubble - Apr 18, 2012 at 7:19 PM

        Wait a minute, 18thstreet. You weren’t wrong about Mo Vaughn. You were right. They never should have allowed a franchise player and person like him leave. Sure, he happened to get hurt badly and never returned to his previous level, but you can’t know that.

        Mo and Bruce Hurst were the two that killed me.

      • oldpaddy - Apr 18, 2012 at 8:33 PM

        I agree. It really bothered me when Mo left.
        Didn’t he hurt himself slipping on a dugout step trying to catch a foul ball on one of his first games with the angels, then never was the same again? If so, isn’t that more of a freak injury? Who’s to say he wouldn’t have had a much better to HOF career without that specific injury?

      • offseasonblues - Apr 18, 2012 at 9:14 PM

        Tiant, Fisk, and Hurst hurt this fan the most. Pedro may have been the right decision, but it was still a sad day.

        Couldn’t agree more with Mark’s entries here.

        I was 100% behind Tito’s decision to not attend and voice his reasons why, but I’m also really glad he will be there to see and hear the fans. May they stand and cheer really long and very loud.

      • 18thstreet - Apr 19, 2012 at 8:54 AM

        In retrospect, I don’t understand Hurst leaving at all. I was 13 during the off-season he left, and I didn’t think that much of it at the time.

  7. xmatt0926x - Apr 18, 2012 at 4:41 PM

    Let me tell you something. Terry Francona isn’t the wimpy “oh gosh shucks” guy a lot of people take him for. He can be a smart ass and it wouldn’t shock me one bit if there was something to him wanting to hear the cheers just so he can jam it up the ass of Valentine and Boston management and embarrass them.

    • WhenMattStairsIsKing - Apr 18, 2012 at 4:53 PM

      If you were him, wouldn’t you go with that as a prime reason, especially with the chip still on his shoulder?

    • kingbuccaneer - Apr 19, 2012 at 1:32 AM

      I’m sure he’ll also be sporting some WS rings that Bobby V will never ever wear.

  8. Old Gator - Apr 18, 2012 at 5:01 PM

    Look, I can see why Tito would love to jam those cheers up John Henry and Larry Lucchino’s, and the gutless pigs who released all those vile slanders anonymously once he left’s collective asses, but why Valentine? Bobby V, whatever his shortcomings, had nothing to do with his firing, so there’s no logical reason for Francona to have a chip on his shoulder for him.

    • WhenMattStairsIsKing - Apr 18, 2012 at 5:12 PM

      Nope – I think Tito simply has a chip against Larry and John “Hipster Glasses” Henry.

      See, I can come up with nicknames too, Gator. :)

    • xmatt0926x - Apr 18, 2012 at 7:38 PM

      you may be right but I thought there was a little back and forth between Tito and Valentine a little while back. It wasn’t anything earth shattering but I thought Valentine made some kind of little dig at Francona after Francona made a comment on Baseball tonight about Valentines Manager style. I could be wrong. Who knows…

    • petey1999 - Apr 19, 2012 at 2:41 AM

      Totally agree.I truly don’t understand why people want to make this about Tito vs. Bobby. If anything, it ought to be about Tito vs. the players who quit on him and got him fired.

  9. TheBloozah - Apr 18, 2012 at 6:28 PM

    What Jack Marshall says is completely right w/ a variation.

    I love Terry. Wish he were still the manager. I do not appreciate players running the circus and costing him job.

    But, what is done is done. Bobby V. in charge. What we really are seeing is fans being misguided in their choices, enabled by a nattering typical micro-analyzing Boston media.

    I have read only Tony Mazz of The Boston Globe stating support for Bobby V. and not one single person in national or local media demanding player accountability, telling them to STFU & do their job and remind fans we deserve better, to demand more.

    That’s why Derek Jeter is a Captain who called his coach Mr. Torre & respects Girardi. He knows he’s an employee, a face of the franchise. You wouldn’t hear him say “Maybe Joe doesn’t know that’s not how we do things here.”

    That’s why it’s Yankee Pride. Not Red Sox Pride.

    It’s time Red Sox fans demand more. But, they will continue to misguide their anger and not demand the accountability of players.

    • oldpaddy - Apr 18, 2012 at 8:07 PM

      Torre to giradi is not the same as Francona to Bobby V.
      Not even close.

      • TheBloozah - Apr 18, 2012 at 9:15 PM

        You are entitled, oldpaddy, to your own opinion but not your own fact.

        Fact: The manager of any organization by his position DOES merit respect and not the type of undercutting already apparently underway in a typical Red Sox clubhouse.

        So, yes, for my point Francona – V and Torre – Girardi are EXACTLY the same.

        Sounds from your other comments like you are a Francona fan, which I am too, and not a V fan. I am not a fan of V but he needs to be allowed to manage.

        Fans need to demand more of well paid underachieving players. Instead, the media is dissecting what biking fashion, words and radio appearances Bobby V. chooses.

        BTW, does anyone see the benefit for Red Sox Nation of V. appearing on NY radio? I think it’s a great move, approved by ownership.

        Also, I for one think he wasn’t criticizing Youk, only observing.

        I’m glad Sveum isn’t manager. He’d be a figurehead.

    • kingbuccaneer - Apr 19, 2012 at 1:35 AM

      Buuuut, Bobby V wont ever hoist the WS trophy up like Girardi did. So your comparison means nothing.

      • 18thstreet - Apr 19, 2012 at 9:00 AM

        Some really crappy managers have won World Series. It’s not inconceivable that a team with the Red Sox’ offense, plus a hot Lester-Beckett in the playoffs, could win. The 2001 Diamondbacks won with less, and I thought Brenly was a terrible manager. Heck, Grady Little might have won the World Series if he’d made ONE decision differently.

        I don’t judge managers simply by the outcome, but by the decisions they make. Brenly NEVER wins the World Series unless he had two inning-eating starters to prevent his inability to use B. Kim correctly from killing the team. And, really, I often feel the same about Girardi. I don’t like his decisions, but hitters like Cano bail him out.

      • TheBloozah - Apr 19, 2012 at 9:04 PM

        Annnnd you are missing my point and making my point.

        Fans should demand more but waste time on the drama & let players off hook hating on Bobby V. because he hasn’t won a RedSox trophy. I didn’t know they crown WS champion in April. Red Sox, sadly, have no Yankee (sub Patriots, Celtics) pride…

        Hello??? Trophies have NOTHING to do with what I said. The TEAM won’t win trophies spending time disrespecting manager. All that fan misguided Bobby V. hate because in hindsight you miss Tito you should redirect to the players but you don’t and won’t. Did you watch the last two games? Slaughter followed in game 2 …0-2 count, 2 outs in 8th, game still in reach. No, let’s find a way to cave. Back to the Future, Red Sox that have talent no mental grit. Wasted media analysis paralysis on the manager and drama around Centennial RSVP list INSTEAD of focusing on players play.

  10. belichickrulz - Apr 19, 2012 at 8:51 AM

    Francona proves once again, as he did last September, that he has more class in his little finger than Henry, Lucchino and the Boy Wonder have combined. The only thing better than the cheers Tito is going to get are the boos that Henry & Lucchino will get.

    As for Bobby V., I didn’t think he was the right man for the job when the Sox hired him, and I haven’t seen anything yet to make me revise that opinion. And honestly, I think he was hired to keep the seat warm for Joe Madden… too bad that master plan worked out as well as Theo’s free agent signings. But Valentine had nothing to do with the smear campaign against Tito, so I bear him no ill will.

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