BOSTON (CBS) – Former Boston Red Sox manager Terry Francona joined Dan Roche on WBZ-TV’s Sports Final Sunday night, and is ready for a new kind of Spring Training in the next few weeks.
“This will be the first time in 32 years for me that I haven’t gone to spring training in a uniform, and that’s going to be hard,” Francona said, now an analyst for ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball. “And I knew it would be, and in a sense I’m glad it’s hard because it means I care about the game a lot.”
It was an abrupt end for Francona and the Red Sox after a September collapse that saw their 2011 season end in shambles rather than a postseason run.
Francona On Sports Final
And while there are some questions as to how Francona left, a mutual break-up or a forceful shove out the door, the former Boston manager said it was time to go after a very successful eight year run.
“Regardless of how it was phrased, whether I stepped down, they fired me, I think it was pretty obvious it was time to move on.” he said. “And when that’s the case, it’s time to move on. The season doesn’t just wind down; it comes to a crashing halt. This year more than anything, boy did it come to a halt, and then everything just exploded. I didn’t really have time to sit back how I thought about losing this job because everything after that went so crazy.”
Francona does want to manage again, and really wanted to land the open managerial position in St. Louis this off-season, but thinks a year off (in the booth) might be good for him.
“Just to be able to look at the game and not be so emotional for one year may be really good for me. Maybe it’s not exactly what you want to do; I interviewed for the Cardinals job and wanted it so bad. But when that was over with I remember sitting back and saying ‘step back.’ The one thing that will be really hard for me is the ninth inning; there is no emotion in the outcome of the game. That’s going to be hard for me.”
As for his former team, Francona said there will be plenty of motivation heading into 2012 with a new manager and a lot of questions about both this coming season and what happened five months ago. While he hasn’t thought too much how the 2012 squad should handle the questions of 2011, Franconca said the sooner they answer them the sooner they can move on.
Francona On Sox Bouncing Back
“It’s not my situation to deal with. I know the better they deal with it, the quicker it will go away,” said Francona. “You have some talented players. Some were injured. Some were probably embarrassed and feel like they have a lot to prove. They maybe feel like they have a chip on their shoulder. Whatever the reason, you’re going to see some guys coming back and probably have pretty good years.”
“There are some things that I think have gone under the radar, like guys like Clay Buchholz. If he comes back and is Clay Buchholz that changes the whole dynamic of that pitching staff,” said Francona.
Francona On 2012 Red Sox
“The one thing that will never change is if the manager has a different name, it doesn’t mean they’re going to go to spring training and not have a chance to win. They’re always going to have a chance; they’re the Red Sox. That’s the way it’s supposed to be.”
“It’s going to be interesting. It will never be boring,” he said.