I’ll be the first to admit that when the Red Sox named Terry Francona as their new manager, I cringed. He seemed way too giddy for Boston at his introductory news conference. My first thought was,’This guy will be eaten alive within a year”. I could not have been any more off-base.
And despite nabbing two World Series rings already, this year–2010–could be Francona’s most impressive yet. From the outset, the spectre of the dreaded “Bridge Year” hung over this team and colored fan expectations. A slow start, fueled by poor starting pitching, pumped up the angst level even further. On top of all this, Tito had to manage the bruised egos of Jason Varitek and Mike Lowell, two veterans who were being handed diminished roles.
After a bit of a surge in the standings, the injuries struck. A total of 11 bodies hit the DL–several of them of the indispensable variety. Would the Rays and Yankees be as swaggering with that many key players sidelined? On came the Navas and the McDonalds and the Pattersons. Somehow, this team has managed to stay on the periphery of contention.
No matter how the Olde Towne Team finishes up this year, I say Terry Francona deserves serious consideration as Manager of the Year.