How Soon We Forget

If fans think things are rough now, they need to think how things might be if Tito leaves. photo:hhweb.com

By we I mean they, and by they I mean Red Sox fans, upper management, and ownership.  Sports is all about money, it’s big business and based on results.  You either win or you don’t, there’s no gray area.  That said, the fact that Terry Francona won’t be back to manage the Red Sox is just unbelievable. 

Boston just pulled off one of the most historic collapses in baseball history by handing the A.L. Wild Card over to the Tampa Bay Rays on the last night of the regular season.  It’s no surprise that some changes are going to be made.  My Atlanta Braves had a similar epic collapse in the N.L. Wild Card race and hitting coach Larry Parrish was shown the door.  The Red Sox averaged 5.4 runs per game in the month of September, seemingly enough to run support for the good pitching staff they had in place.  Maybe a new pitching coach is the answer, or make a move or two and tweak the pitching staff.  How many starts did Tim Wakefield have to make to win his 200th game?  To many, but that’s just a suggestion.

A spectacularly big collapse in a big market with a big payroll ($160 million) with even bigger expectations must call for big changes.  Francona leaving is a big change, one of the biggest possible changes that could be made.  I just hope Red Sox Nation remembers how good they had it under Francona.  In 8 years he averaged 93 wins a year, won one division title, made 5 playoff appearances and won not 1 but 2 World Series titles.  Has everyone forgotten what it was like pre-Francona?  When you thought of Boston baseball it was all about the Curse of The Bambino, 1978 penant race collapse thanks to Bucky Dent, and the whole Bill Buckner 1986 World Series disaster.

Francona wipes all of that away in 2004, his first season in Boston.  The Sox won their first World Series since 1918 and overcame a 3-0 deficit in the ALCS against the hated Yankees to do it.  That alone should have made him untouchable in Boston.  Ozzie Guillen has done less in Chicago and was able to basically leave on his own terms.  Francona transformed the entire New England region from perennial losers with an 86 year old inferiority complex who always come up short into World Champs who could finally “die in peace.”  Then they went out and won another one in 2007 for good measure.  Life for Boston sports fans could never be any better, all of their pro sports teams were taking turns contending for and winning titles. 

Eventually all good runs must end and coaches, players, and managers in good situations have to move on.  Francona has said managing in Boston “wears on you”, for him 8 years was enough.  Urban Meyer is in the booth after 2 titles in 6 seasons at Florida.  Expectations and stresses of the job no matter how good the job is can eclipse the winning and joys that the job initially brought.  Red Sox fans should forever be indebted to Terry Francona because the next guy, and the next guy, and the guy after that who follow him as manager of the Sox are going to have a very tough act to follow.

Agree, disagree, agree to disagree?  Doesn’t matter, feel free to leave a comment below.

About the Author

My name is Vinny Hardy. I am a freelance sports blogging correspondent for the John Boy & Billy Big Show. I'm from Lynch Kentucky. I currently live in Morristown, Tennessee. My wife Katie and I have been married for 10 years and we have a 3 year old son, Micah. I would like to thank Will West of WNML in Knoxville for urging me to start blogging and the Big Show's very own Terry Hanson for his unbelievable mentoring and support. Without him absolutely none of this is possible. I hope you enjoy the blog. The articles can also be seen on theisn.net, check out that site too. Leave a comment and definitely come back regularly and see what's new.