Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here... highlighting the big storyline. Because there's nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
So, because Terry Francona lost the Red Sox clubhouse, he lost his job.
And there you have the plan for solving the team’s culture problem: Replace Francona, and all will be fine.
I’m confused. Is the next manager’s beer-chugging policy during games going to be less or more stringent?
The Red Sox’ big three — general manager Theo Epstein, chairman Tom Werner and president Larry Lucchino, minus principal owner John Henry (day-to-day, yacht slip) — were appropriately respectful yesterday about Francona’s contributions during his tenure at Fenway Park.
And the more they spoke, it became clear how easy it must have been to place blame on Francona’s slumping shoulders for losing the respect and attention of the players under his charge. Francona made it even easier by blaming himself for not rising to the challenge, but his hasty exit yesterday left the clear impression that the Red Sox were not going to make drastic changes to the actual roster.
The new guy is going to clean up the mess that Francona could not because he’s, well, the new guy.
As for the players, the Sox brass are keeping their fingers crossed that they somehow become leaders.
Herald - Sox manager change naive
Michael Silverman absolutely destroys the Sox' decision to fire Francona, and for blaming him for their collapse. And I couldn't be happier that he did.
Don't even worry about whatever nonsense I'm writing, go on over to the Herald and read that article. Of course, once you're done, please come back.
I can't disagree with any of the points Silverman has made. The core problem wasn't Francona's ineffectiveness, but the awful attitude and egos of the players on the squad. Axing Tito isn't going to change any of that. It's like giving your car a new paint job because the breaks are worn out. And unless Theo plans on bringing in General Patton to lead this team, I don't think that the new guy is going to cure what ails the Sox, just because he's the new guy.
The problems on this team are far deeper than any of us realized throughout the season. It almost sounds like we're going to have to blow this team up if we want to straighten it out. To float that theory out during our May-through-August domination would have sounded crazy. Now? It may be the only way.
We can only hope that this Sox squad is looking itself in the mirror this morning, knowing that they cost the city of Boston the best manager its ever had.
On Page 2, Tito goes off the talking points
But occasionally, Francona couldn't help himself. He answered with a simple "No'' when he was asked if the owners had ever offered him the chance to return next season. And, when asked why he didn't ask for another chance to make up for September, Francona went unfiltered.
"To be honest, I'm not sure how much support there was from ownership,'' he said with no hint of rancor. "You've got to be all-in with this job. And I voiced that today. There were some things, going through things here, to make it work, you've got to have everybody together and I was questioning some of that a little bit.''
And there it was. A peek behind the curtain at the real dynamics.
Who knows how ownership and management could have aided Francona in September when both their record and the attitude were on the skids. Perhaps picking up the option years earlier in the year, or last winter, would have sent the not-so-subtle message to players that Francona had their backing, that he would be in charge for several seasons to come.
Instead, Lucchino reacted with great surprise when asked about Francona's remark.
"I was actually puzzled by that comment,'' said Lucchino. "We have done nothing differently this year than we've done in previous years. I think it's a question you should probably ask him.''
I don't know how long ago this marriage went south, but from all the information coming out over the past 24 hours, it doesn't sound like this suddenly sprung up in September.
I wish Tito the best of luck. Whatever situation he finds himself in will surely be better than the debacle the Red Sox have become.
Rest of the links:
CSNNE - Identifying Francona's successor | Francona: "Time for a new voice" | Herald - Joe Girardi and Jim Leyland know of Terry Francona’s plight | Farewell to Francona | Tito’s absence leaves Hall-of-Fame hole | Globe - Ignore that spin from the brass - he was fired | Eight is enough, as Francona bows out | Saddened Sox fans of two minds on Francona’s exit | ESPN - Departure makes your head spin | Shock, sadness from Tito's players | David Ortiz wants to return to Boston | NESN - Red Sox Management Admit Club May Need Culture Change in Clubhouse | Theo Epstein Plans to be Thorough With Managerial Search With Some Intriguing Options Out There