Thursday, July 17, 2008

One more ASG thought: Francona's class

I have neglected a key part of the game. Not intentional, just ran out of bandwidth to put some thoughts together. Thankfully, the loyal tadthebad asked me about it and well, it got me to thinking more about it.

Terry Francona has a boatload of class.

This is the manager of the (hated) RedSox, skippering the AL all-stars in Yankee Stadium, the belly of the beast. He had been boo'd mercilessly during the parade, during introductions, every chance the fans could. [I think he'd be disappointed if he wasn't boo'd. It's standard operating procedure. The Yanks players were boo'd when the all-star game was in Fenway. As they should be. It's part of the fun of being life-long enemies.]

Yet, Francona deftfully diffused the Papelbon situation (as did Papelbon, though the horses had long left the barn). His handling of his Yankee players was nothing short of brilliant and clearly showed that this guy not only grasps history but relishes the big moment as well as anyone.

Rather than make switches in between innings, he pulled ARod and Jeter both mid-inning, to give them a chance to hear the cheers again as they ran off the field. Each player was able to tip their caps in appreciation. That was a GREAT show of respect from a manager who clearly "gets it", despite his location and the name on the front of his jersey. Pure class move, Tito.

As the 9th inning was about to begin, we assumed we'd here "Enter Sandman" and Mo would stroll thru the bullpen doors. But in came KRod. The group around us was surprised but we were discussing that Mo would probably come in with 2 outs, just in case the AL won it in the bottom of the inning. Otherwise, if the AL scored, Mo would not have gotten in the game. KRod put a man on and had one out. Cue "Enter Sandman". Oh yeah, if there was a double play, inning over and a chance that Mo would not enter the game. Tito and his staff were clearly thinking this through. So well-executed. Of course, Mo got the double play and although the game didn't end in the bottom of the 9th or 10th, he was in line for the win in both instances. Had the AL scored in that bases loaded/none out, Mo would have gotten the W and quite possibly the AL MVP. The stars were aligned thanks to Francona's grasp on history and the present.

Yanks fans and Sox fans will never see eye-to-eye. But I have had an enormous amount of respect for their organization, even if I root for them to lose daily. I know I will have a greater respect for Francona for his class moves during the ASG, too.

Well done, Tito. BOOOOOO!!!!!!


Carl the Big Fool said...

I saw a guy at O's-Nats last month wearing a black and orange "Cito Still Sucks" T-shirt. Referring back to the 1993 all-star game in Baltimore where Gaston wouldn't bring in Mike Mussina to finish the game. THAT'S a long time to hold a grudge.

tadthebad said...

Nice post. Nice to read anyone giving Francona some props as I think he deserves it.

Thanks for the shout-out, too. I made it, Ma! I'm famous!