The Boston Red Sox are one of baseball’s most polarizing franchises. With a huge fan base and plenty of larger-than-life personalities, they have a passionate following. People may love or hate the Red Sox, but they’ll always have an opinion.
Former manager (and currently with the Cleveland Indians) Terry Francona (co-authored by Boston Globe writer Dan Shaughnessy) in the book Francona: The Red Sox Years about his days with the Red Sox describes some interesting things about his former employer and how things went down with the team.
It sounds like things weren’t always sunshine and lollipops in Bean Town. Francona claims that during a meeting on November 10th, 2010, a group gathered at Fenway Park to discuss drops in television ratings. According to the book, the Red Sox wanted to have more players that were sex-symbols and create more drama around the team. This forced then GM and current president of baseball operations for the Chicago Cubs Theo Epstein to sign some high-priced free agents that didn’t fit into the chemistry of the team. Francona also claims that due to the importance of television ratings, he was told to sit several of the teams “stars” during afternoon games because of the lagging ratings on day baseball.
The final dagger for Francona was the way his situation was handled by the organization. When the team decided not to bring him back for the 2012 season, apparently there was some reluctance on telling him. Considering Francona was a huge part of the teams’ success, his final exit wasn’t exactly what one would call graceful.
While I am looking forward to reading the book, there’s always two-sides to every story. There’s no doubt that Francona and Epstein didn’t leave Boston under the best of circumstances. It shows that even the most successful organizations have things go on behind the scenes that none of us will ever know or understand.