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.
But Francona seemed uneasy around his former team — “It’s a little awkward for me,” he said — and had a few pointed words for Red Sox principal owner John Henry, who phoned him a few weeks ago after not returning his calls earlier in the offseason.
“It was probably five months too late,” Francona said. “We talked. It doesn’t matter anymore. That’s what I kind of told him. I said, ‘We should have had this conversation a long time ago because anything you say now doesn’t matter.’ But he was good.”
“When I left, I thought I would just leave,” Francona said. “What happened after that hurt me a lot. It probably always will. The best thing to do is try to move on. Carrying grudges and stuff like that, that’s not real healthy. I spent eight years there, and we did a lot of good stuff. That hurt me a little bit.”
Just like that, one of the ugliest episodes in Red Sox history rears its ugly head.
No one blames the Red Sox for singling out a scapegoat after last season's collapse. No one blames them for wanting to shift gears and bring in a manager with a different style. Putting the bulk of the blame on the manager for losing his team and telling him to clear out his office isn't just understandable, but it was expected.
"Terry Francona will not be returning as the Red Sox manager. Regrettably, it's time to take the team in a different direction. We thank him for eight wonderful years and the two World Series victories."
That was all the Sox needed to say. After September, no one would have second-guessed that decision. And, as Tito thought would happen, he could have just left. But the Sox ownership group isn't that classy. People don't just quietly walk away from the Red Sox. They get destroyed on their way out the door.
To borrow from Usual Suspects: "Lucchino and Henry kill their kids, they kill their wives, they kill their parents and their parents' friends. They burn down the houses they live in and the stores they work in, they kill people that owe them money."
Despite my outrage when the Globe story broke, I'm ashamed to say that I've turned the page. That's what Spring is for: new beginnings. But it's not that simple for Tito. Those wounds still burn. And to not even be invited to the 100th anniversary celebration of Fenway Park? That's sickening. Even if Tito doesn't want to attend, there's no excuse for him not to be invited. Someone should right that wrong immediately.
Tito made the fatal mistake of being at the helm while the Red Sox embarrassed themselves over the final few weeks of the 2011 season. And in the eyes of Henry and Lucchino, he's not done paying for it yet.
On Page 2, The Yankees are still the Yankees
Mortensen was on the mound to start the 10th conferring with catcher Ryan Lavarnway when the game was called. Typically, spring training tie games are played to 10 innings – unless a team runs out of pitching to go more than nine innings.
“They had plenty of pitching,” Valentine said. “Probably too long of a ride. They could have known that going in.
“No, they had plenty of pitching.”
The Yankees used five pitchers, with seven remaining unused on their travel roster.
“Usually they (the umpires) talk about it if it’s a tie game, but they didn’t,” said Yankees manager Joe Girardi. “And I used all our pitching and I just said, ‘That’s it.’ I just looked at (umpire) Tim Tschida and said, ‘That’s it.’”
“Usually you go over and say, ‘Hey, I don’t have any more [pitching].[Or] I have 10.’” Valentine said. “I don’t know. I haven’t been around in a long time. Joe [Girardi] knows better than I. I guess you just walk off the field."
It's a Spring Training game, so you try not to get too worked up about it. But the Yankees clearly had available arms to play another inning. You would think the Umpires would know that and force them to continue.
This isn't a local softball league, this is Major League Baseball. It's astounding that the protocol to end a game is for an ump to look at a manager and shrug his shoulders.
The only good to come from this is another chuckle-worthy quote from Bobby V. "I haven't been around in a long time. Joe knows better than I. I guess you just walk off the field."
I can't wait until these games mean something.
Rest of the links:
Herald - Carl Crawford looks to Jacoby Ellsbury for inspiration | Rude exit by Yanks | CSNNE - Valentine: Matsuzaka may be ready by June | WEEI - X-rays negative on Pedroia's forearm | Cook solid as Sox tie Yankees | Globe - Sweeney scores on squeeze as BoSox and Yankees tie | Francona makes call | ESPN - Line on Tito: No runs, no hits, no gas