Terry Jon Francona (born April 22, 1959 in Aberdeen, South Dakota), nicknamed "Tito," is a Major League Baseball manager and former player. Francona has been the manager of the Boston Red Sox since 2004. The Red Sox … see full wiki
Just in case you haven't noticed the Boston Red Sox are in the midst of an historic September collapse that would compare to the Philadelphia Phillies legendary swoon way back in 1964. As I write this the Red Sox have won just 5 of the 19 games they have played in the month of September. Their hopes of capturing the American League East title have long since vanished and there remains the very real possibility that they might not make the playoffs at all as the surging Tampa Bay Rays have pulled to within 1 and 1/2 games of the Sox with just a handful of tilts remaining. Through it all Sox skipper Terry Francona has remained calm and cautiously optimistic. He refuses to publicly criticize his players nor is he pushing the proverbial panic button. His demeanor has been essentially the same as it his been during his entire 8 year tenure as manager of the Boston Red Sox. And you know what, I like that!
I have been following the Boston Red Sox for more than a half century now and I am here to tell you unequivocally that Terry Francona has been far and away the best manager in the history of this franchise. Unlike some big league managers Terry Francona never attempts to make himself the story. He is known as a player's manager who over the years has taken a lot of heat for his troops, most notably one Manny Ramirez. He is also extremely adept at handling the Boston media which has never been an easy task. The fact is that Terry Francona is one of the most respected skippers in the game. So what has gone wrong with the Bosox over the past few weeks and who is responsible? Well for one thing the injuries have been piling up. Furthermore, the pitching has been simply atrocious. And to add insult to injury the defense has been abominable. It seems that right now the Red Sox are finding a new way to lose every night and the players must shoulder the responsibilty for a major portion of these shortcomings. Through it all Terry Francona has remained a tower of strength. Although the pressure is mounting and his options are dwindling Terry is exactly the same guy he was when the Sox overcame a 3-0 deficit against the New York Yankees and went on to sweep the St. Louis Cardinals in the 2004 World Series. If the Sox are able to weather the storm and sneak into the playoffs in my opinion It will because Terry Francona refused to panic.
If you read the newspapers and listen to the sports talk shows around here many fans are calling for the Red Sox to fire Terry Francona at the end of the season. I heartily disagree. Does Terry Francona share a portion of the blame for what has been going on over the past month? Of course he does and Terry would be the first one to tell you that. But I prefer to look at his entire body of work. And when you do it is clear that Terry Francona deserves to remain as the Red Sox manager at least for another season. Sometimes in sports it becomes clear that the tenure of a coach or manager has run its course. The time has come for a new approach or perhaps the old way of doing things has become rather stale. If this is the case with the Boston Red Sox then I believe Terry Francona would simply resign. Regardless of what happens to the Red Sox in the next few days Terry Francona has my enduring admiration and respect. He truly is a class act!
UPDATE 9/30/11: IT WAS ANNOUNCED THAT TERRY FRANCONA WILL NOT BE BACK AS RED SOX MANAGER IN 2012.