If ever a perfect example of “What have you done for me lately?” exists, it has to be the case of Boston Red Sox manager Terry Francona. Even non-baseball fans have heard of the “Curse of the Bambino” that kept Boston from winning a World Series for more than a hundred years.
Francona was the manager that finally broke the curse, and then followed it up with another Major League Baseball crown as if to prove the first was no fluke.
Apparently, Francona is out as the Red Sox manager, following one of the most massive collapses in the game’s history.
The last time the Red Sox had won the title before Francona’s reign was 1918. It was in the year 2011 – this season, in fact – that Boston became the first team in MLB history to miss the playoffs after having a nine-game lead in the month of September. To fall from the top of the charts to the bottom of the page in less than a month borders on epic failure.
Francona has an option for next season built into his contract, and apparently the Sox management has decided not to exercise their contractual right to keep him. The manager had early stated a hope for an early decision on his future, and although a Friday meeting was scheduled, no word had been released from the Red Sox as of mid-morning.
If the parting comes, it may not be completely the decision of Boston’s front office. Francona did not respond to a question about whether he still wants to manage the team.
“Maybe it’s best today to stay with where we’re at,” said Francona. “It’s still pretty fresh and pretty raw. It’s a fair question. I just would rather focus on the other stuff today, if that’s OK. It’s a fair question.”
Francona is the first manager ever to win his first six World Series games. He brought his team back from an 0-3 start in the 2004 ALCS to win the series. In 2007, the Red Sox rallied from a 1-3 ALCS start to beat Cleveland and then sweep the Colorado Rockies in the World Series.
The end of the 2011 campaign was a sports-page soap opera, with the games-behind statistic seemingly growing larger each day after having lead the division for much of the season. Finally, the stat that mattered was the wildcard ‘games behind’ and even that was finally frittered away, leaving Boston out of the post-season completely.