It appears that Terry Francona, in addition to his new job as manager of the Cleveland Indians, is exacting both a pound of flesh and a bit of glee at the expense of the Boston Red Sox. Tito’s book, Francona: The Red Sox Years, written with Dan Shaughnessy, was released yesterday. Here are two of the more hotly reported excerpts and observations from the book.
Do Ya Think I’m Sexy?
Francona claims that Boston management wanted a more “sexy” product on the field, which caused them to go after players like under-performing and injured Carl Crawford and malcontent Adrian Gonzalez. The Red Sox purportedly commissioned a $100,000 marketing research project that determined TV ratings were dropping and that women, who trended to the “soap-opera” and reality TV themes were interested in “good-looking stars and sex symbols.”
Theo Epstein in particular was quoted as saying, “They (the consultants) told us we didn’t have any marketable players, that we needed some sizzle. We need some sexy guys. Talk about the tail wagging the dog. This is like an absurdist comedy. We’d become too big. It was the farthest thing removed from what we set out to be.”
According to the book, the bottom line is that Sox management bit on the assertion and the wheels that eventually fell off the cart were set in motion.
Do You Like Me Or Love Me?
Francona also asserts in the book that Boston management liked baseball but didn’t love it, as evidenced by owner John Henry’s sporting interests that included both the Liverpool soccer and Roush Racing teams.
“They come in with all these ideas about baseball, but I don’t think they love baseball,” Francona said. “I think they like baseball. It’s revenue, and I know that’s their right and their interest because they’re owners … and they’re good owners. But they don’t love the game. It’s still more of a toy or a hobby for them. It’s not their blood. They’re going to come in and out of baseball. It’s different for me. Baseball is my life.”
Now the damage control, just 24-hours after the book’s release, has begun. During an interview with WEEI’s Alex Speier on The Big Show today, Francona said said that he didn’t mean for his comments to be misconstrued as disrespectful.
Francona told WEEI, “I think they’re real good owners. In fact, I said that in the book. I wouldn’t have written the script – the way it ended, I wouldn’t have written it for me, personally. That doesn’t mean they’re not good owners,” said Francona. “I actually think they’re really good owners. I was disappointed in some of the things, in my communications with them, I was very disappointed. That doesn’t mean they’re not good people or good owners.”
Sounds like Tito is back to playing ball again.
If you want my body and you think I’m sexy
Come on sugar let me know
If you really need me just reach out and touch me
Come on honey tell me so, tell me so baby
- Do Ya Think I’m Sexy?, Rod Stewart