BOSTON (CBS) – WBZ-TV’s Dan Roche got an exclusive interview with former Red Sox manager Terry Francona on Wednesday, just five days after he stepped away from Boston’s bench.

While he said leaving the Red Sox was his decision, he also said he would have been open to a return if the team had wanted to pick up his option for the 2012 season.

“Yeah I think so. I think I still would have wanted to talk,” said Francona outside of Fenway Park. “I didn’t feel completely good about myself. I don’t want to throw ownership under the bus, that’s not quite how I feel. I wasn’t happy with what I had done or my inabilities at the end of the year. There were a lot of frustrations on my part.”

Tito With Rochie Pt 1

One of the bombshells that came into focus after Friday was the story of pitchers drinking in the clubhouse during games on their off-days. While it was a problem, Francona said it was an issue that was blown out of proportion.

“I think there is so much stuff that people don’t know and is overblown,” he said. “I’m not ducking an issue. It’s more of an issue if guys are in the clubhouse I want them in the dugout. I want us to all be going in one direction.”

“If a guy had a beer, or a couple of beers, I’m not sure it’s the end of the world,” said Tito. “I’m not saying it’s right, but you get my point.”

“It just felt like I didn’t reach people that maybe I had been able to reach before,” he said. ”I didn’t feel like we were putting our best foot forward, and it bothered the heck out of me.”

“As you go through the season there are things that give you your identity or your personality and forever reason it wasn’t happening for us.”

That’s why he says he met with the team in Toronto. “We have good people in that clubhouse, that’s not the way it’s supposed to come out, to be a World Series type team you gotta have some good things happen and I just wanted us to spend more of our energy going in that one direction.”

He says, “You can win 90 games by having some talent, by getting to the World Series you got to have some people do some extraordinary things.”

Tito With Rochie Pt 2

So does Tito think this group can win?

“You better believe it,” he says. “There’s a lot of talent in there, last month went horribly wrong, and I think it uncovered some things that were there to begin with.”

Tito says he doesn’t know why things couldn’t get turned around. “I really don’t know, I could never get that answer, and hopefully the next people in here will be able to do a little bit better job.”

“Players were frustrated too, and when I saw that I wanted to help and I wasn’t able to get my point across I think as I was in the past.”

Francona spent eight years under General Manager Theo Epstein, who is rumored to be at the top of the Chicago Cubs list for potential GMs.

Francona did not want to comment on Theo’s situation, but wishes his former GM the best of luck.

“If he wants to leave, I hope he’s happy. I know there are a lot of pressures here that he doesn’t let on to because he does a tremendous job,” said Francona.

“We’ve become pretty close. For us to be here eight years and not kill each other says  a lot.”

Comments (13)
  1. Robin says:

    I will always love and respect Tito- sorry that it ended the way it did and wish him happiness and success wherever he goes!

    1. Matty123 says:

      Tito, don’t let the back of the door hit your butt on the way out, bud. Thanks for the memories, now get the heck out of town…Sox ownership, go pluck Joe Maddon from the Rays and bring him back to NE….

  2. Theo is next to go says:

    I thought exclusive mean you were the ONLY one with the interview/story?!?
    He was on WEEI at 3pm today…likely saying the same thing if not more since he was on for 40 minutes.

    1. AceMaster says:

      WEEI is awful…it won’t be long before The Sports Hub takes over the games

  3. bp says:

    I like the shirt Teri was wearing. Think he was trying to send a message to the top guns at the Red Sox???

  4. FireGuyFrank says:

    Sorry, Tito, but overpaid athletes drinking beer when they are supposed to be staying in top shape to perform IS “the end of the world”. What would happen if one of those guys had a traffic accident on the way home from the game. A DUI — even without any injuries — is still a DUI and has major implications.

    Everyone of those players ought to be traded or allowed to sign elsewhere. They are disrespecting every member of The Nation. Period.

    1. ed says:

      how about overpaid fireman drinking on the job, genius?

  5. Matty123 says:

    Come on, Ed, stop passing the buck…an example needs to be set. Not enough grit and too much booze in the clubhouse IS A HUGE ISSUE…we don’t pay thousands of dollars for tickets each year for these bums to nance around the clubhouse, chugging 40’s while the rest of us PAID OUT THE NOSE sit in cramped conditions in a ballpark when, at the time of construction, the average American male stood 5’5″ and weighed 140 lbs.

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