Less than a week after confirming to Dan Shaughnessy that he would not be attending Fenway's 100th anniversary celebration, Tito has changed his mind.
Former Boston Red Sox manager and current ESPN analyst Terry Francona has changed his mind and says he will be attending the Red Sox's 100th anniversary celebration of Fenway Park on Friday afternoon.
Francona had originally said he would not attend because of the way things ended between himself and the Red Sox after the collapse of 2011.
Francona told ESPN on Wednesday that he believes he owes it to the fans to show up.
I'm very shocked by this, to be honest.
First, and foremost, since his firing Tito has given no indication of wavering on his stance to avoid the ceremony. Each time he was asked, he quickly replied with a "not going." In his interview with Shaughnessy he stated that the Sox would be better off if he didn't attend, and that he wasn't comfortable putting on a fake smile and shaking hands with his enemies. There was no gray area.
Beyond that, his appearance will completely overshadow everything else going on that day. It's a shame, and it shouldn't be, but that's the reality in our gossip-fueled society. Tito's attendance, and, more importantly, his interactions with Lucchino and Henry, are going to be the focus. Not Fenway's history. Terry obviously knows this, and I'm shocked he'd subject himself to it.
The conspiracy theorist and ESPN-hater inside of me wonders if ESPN isn't forcing him to go for this fact alone.
Knowing Tito as I do (and boy, do we go way back) I believe him when he says he owes it to the fans to be there. As I stated last weekend, nearly all of the good, recent memories revolving around Fenway and the Red Sox are directly tied to Francona. Sox fans never got a chance to thank him for all he did. This is their chance, on such a grand scale, to give him the standing ovation he certainly deserves from the Sox faithful.
And with bumbling Bobby Valentine running amock, a chance for the fans to let Henry and Lucchino know that the grass isn't always greener under the feet of a guy that can't manage a pitching staff.