Boston Buzz Commentary: Unconfirmed reports are flooding the media and the “tweet-o-sphere” that Red Sox Manager Terry Francona is out after the Red Sox spun out of control in September and lost a bid for a wild card playoff spot to the Tampa Bay Rays.
Though Red Sox General Manager Theo Epstein held a press conference yesterday, with Francona by his side, saying that the losing season was not the fault of Francona, baseball pundits are buzzing that the Sox management will not pick up up Francona’s contract options for the next two seasons.
Francona, who has managed the Red Sox for eight seasons, met with Red Sox ownership and management at Fenway Park today from about 10 am to 12 noon, while reporters lurked around Fenway Park and a helicoper circled overhead. However, when the meeting broke up, there was no official word from the Red Sox or Francona about Francona’s status.The only word was that there would be no decsion for at least 24, if not 48 hours, about Francona’s future with the Boston Red Sox.
Is the 2011 disaster the fault of Francona?
From all appearances, the implosion of the 2011 Red Sox was truly a team and organizational problem, starting with the management that purchased the services of several high priced free agents who didn’t perform anywhere close to expectations.
Whether or not Francona’s management style was part of the problem, one doesn’t need to be a sports historian to recognize what Terry Francona did for Boston. It can be summed up this way: 2004 and 2007.
Today, Red Sox fans, who pay the highest ticket prices in MLB, are chiming in, on TV sportscasts and via online comments. Apparently most of Red Sox Nation does not see Terry Francona as the problem at all. If Francona is not the reason the over hyped 2011 Red Sox failed, then what is?
The fact of the matter is, “it’s complicated.” But, baseball is at heart a simple game, run by simple botton line minds. So, the easiest thing to do is find a scapegoat and throw that person under the next bus that comes rolling down Brookline Avenue.
Shame on the Red Sox if they let Francona go. This is a man of intelligence, integrity and baseball passion who gave the Red Sox ownership PR that money can’t buy, fans in the seats that made their wallets fat and big time bragging rights.
Long time Red Sox fans recognize the value of a manager like Francona, having sufferered through decades of hit or miss management and no baseball titles. But then again, baseball is now such a bottom line business that teams like the Red Sox believe that symbolic firings will make things all right and that throwing money at a problem will give them another World Series title. Not so fast.
If the 2011 season proves anything, it is that money is NOT everything–especially when a team (the Rays) whose entire payroll is the equivalent of four of the Red Sox stars’ salaries, beats the Red Sox for the wild card spot.
And, as much as this writer hates to say it, Boston Red Sox 2011-you are not the Yankees and do not yet have the finesse to spend the big bucks and create a real team.
If Red Sox management does not learn this lesson, they can bring in a new mananger evey year with the same results as Red Sox 2011. Take it from this long time Red Sox fan, firing Terry Francona will be the worst decision John Henry and Company will ever make.
But, then who can resist a boy wonder in a guerilla suit-the one who really should be sent packing? Mr. Henry, think it over. We Red Sox fans have been here in Boston a lot longer than you have and will stay away from Fenway Park if the Red Sox think they can put this one over on the fans. Place the responsibility whre it truly belongs and act accordingly.