Terry Francona, the former Boston Red Sox Manager – turned ESPN baseball analyst has voiced his opinion about incoming skipper Bobby Valentine’s ban on drinking in the clubhouse. Speaking to “Mike and Mike in the Morning” on ESPN radio, Francona called the ban a “PR move”. Said Francona: “I don’t think it’s a surprise that they put this in effect, or the fact they announced it. It’s probably more of a PR move just because, you know, the Red Sox took such a beating at the end of the year”.
His 8 year term as the manager of the Red Sox can certainly be considered successful; in 2004 Francona brought the franchise its first World Series title in 86 years, subsequently putting the kibosh on “The Curse of the Bambino”. He added another championship in 2007, just for good measure. During his tenure in Boston, “Tito” compiled a record of 774 and 552, resulting in a winning percentage of .574…not to mention the two World Series victories he helped bring to a die-hard baseball town that had gone generations without witnessing their team win it all.
Francona came under a great deal of scrutiny following an epic collapse at the end of the 2011 season that saw his club go 7 – 20 and give up a 9 game lead in the wild card standings in the final month of the season. Even the championship teams Francona managed were seen as somewhat of a rag-tag punch that were teeming with personality and often overachieved. However, the way the team crumbled at the end of 2011, combined with reports of players (namely star pitchers Josh Beckett, Jon Lester and John Lackey) eating fried chicken and swilling brewskies in the clubhouse during games signaled the end of the line for him in Boston. Many people, both inside and outside of the organization felt that Francona had lost control of his clubhouse; and when that happens, an organization has no other recourse but to move on in a different direction. For the Red Sox, that direction was Bobby Valentine, who had not managed in the majors since 2002 but is consistently regarded as a great baseball mind.
Francona did not say anything inherently negative about his former employer or the policy imposed by its new manager; he simply stated an opinion, which is what he is paid to do as an analyst. With the turnover that occurred in the Red Sox organization between the end of the 2011 season and now, there were bound to be significant changes that took place, and this is just one of example of what we can expect from the 2012 version of the Bo Sox.