Written by: Matt Shock (@shockwave_music)
Edited by: Curt Ashcraft (@cashcraft740)
Last night, Indians manager Terry Francona made his first professional return to Boston since being fired. I think he lost the clubhouse because the players wouldn’t share the chicken with him, but that’s for another post. The crowd gave Francona a standing ovation before the game and rightly so. After all, he managed the team that broke the Curse of the Great Bambino. The Indians then proceeded to cream the Red Sox by a score of 12-3.
If you ask me, that’s absolutely beautiful! Nothing gives your old team the proverbial finger like absolutely destroying them on their home turf. I could not help but chuckle when I heard that score on the radio this morning. It instantly made be a bigger believer in Francona.
I’m not at all suggesting that Francona’s departure from Boston was all based upon hard feelings and hatred, but this victory had to leave a pretty big grin on his face. The Red Sox were going downhill and the first step in changing the culture of the clubhouse is firing the manager and coaching staff. Of course, hiring Bobby Valentine with the hopes of creating a positive clubhouse atmosphere was quite possibly the most baffling thing Boston has done since trading the Babe to the Yankees…but you have to start somewhere. It seems like this year Boston has finally begun to right the ship again.
Francona is one of the great minds in baseball. Everybody knew that his time behind the broadcast desk would be brief. When you win two World Series titles with one team, your name instantly goes on the short list every time a managerial job opens up.
When the job in Cleveland opened up, everybody automatically tied his name to the job. I will not lie, I initially thought that Francona was the last person that Cleveland needed as their manager, but he seems to be exactly what they needed. Cleveland is playing unselfish baseball, which will ultimately win over the big-budget, power-hitting strategies that the big clubs try to buy every season (see the Los Angeles Angels as exhibit A). Managers don’t play the games, but they certainly have a big part in winning the games because they are the ones moving the chess pieces. They are the ones setting the tone in the clubhouse. Right now, the Cleveland clubhouse has the perfect culture, and it shows in their play. I only hope that Francona can keep the middle-finger extended and pull off the sweep of the Bosox this weekend. I can’t believe I’m typing this…but GO TRIBE!