Friday, September 30, 2011

Francona a ‘Great’ Manager? Really?
With Red Sox manager Terry Francona on the verge of being “disretained” following his team’s effort in the 2011 Fall Classic Collapse, all that’s being heard from the myriad talking heads who claim to know baseball is how great he’s been as skipper of the Slippers.
Really? Did we miss something? Isn’t a guy who runs a Major League Baseball team with a payroll double or triple that of most of the competition supposed to get his team into the playoffs? Your grandmother could have figured out which overpaid veteran sitting on the bench needs to pinch hit (what, twice a year in the AL?) — and, bless her heart, it’s likely that she never even played ball in her life.
Did Terry Francona ever display the cojones it takes to intentionally walk the opposing cleanup batter with the bases loaded to preserve a precarious lead on the road — and win the game?
Did Terry Francona ever demonstrate the prescience (known in some baseball circles simply as “savvy”) that prompted the reliance on a pinch-hitter batting .108 and hitless in his previous 21 MLB at-bats with two outs in the bottom of the ninth and down a run in the final game of the season in which a playoff spot was at stake — and win the game?
Did Terry Francona see the potential of Carlos Pena (even after ‘Los batted .273 in for the BlowSox in 2006)?
No? Really?
Then what exactly did Terry Francona ever do that qualifies him as a great manager? What did he ever do that any mediocre manager couldn’t have done?
Word on the streets is that the idiot-wannabes didn’t get along very well in the clubhouse (and by extension on the field). Boo hoo. Isn’t the job of a manager, by definition, to manage his players and mold their attitudes? A baseball manager has coaches to help manage the game: The pitching coach advises which reliever should be used; the bench coach is relied on to get the right pinch-hitter ready to step up to the plate. But it’s all on the manager’s shoulders when it comes to guiding his players off the field so that petty issues and heady personalities don’t disrupt his team’s chemistry.
It appears to Sox Unnation that Terry Francona still has a way to go before he should be labeled a “great’ manager. So far he’s only accomplished what he should have. Nothing unexpected. Nothing great.

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