Word came last night that after a monumental collapse at the end of the season by the Red Sox, that Terry Francona‚Äôs contract would not be renewed.
And while earlier today, no decision had been made by Theo Epstein, the ownership of the Red Sox, and Francona, now, he has decided to leave. The man that broke an 86 year World Series Championship drought in 2004, and won another in 2007, is officially history in Beantown.
In a statement, John Henry, Tom Werner, and Larry Lucchino ‚Äď the ownership of the Red Sox ‚Äď said:
‚ÄúWe met with Terry Francona, Theo Epstein and Ben Cherington Friday morning to discuss the 2011 season, ways to improve the club in the future, and Tito‚Äôs status.¬† During the meeting, Tito, Theo and Ben agreed that the Red Sox would benefit from an improved clubhouse culture and higher standards in several areas.¬† Tito said that after eight years here he was frustrated by his difficulty making an impact with the players, that a different voice was needed, and that it was time for him to move on.¬† After taking time to reflect on Tito‚Äôs sentiments, we agreed that it was best for the Red Sox not to exercise the option years on his contract.
We have enormous respect, admiration and appreciation for Tito and the job that he did for eight years, including two World Series Championship seasons and five playoff appearances.¬† His poise during the 2004 post-season was a key factor in the greatest comeback in baseball history, and his place in Red Sox history will never be forgotten.¬† We wish him only the best going forward.‚ÄĚ
Said Francona, ‚ÄúWe met this morning to look back on the 2011 season and to consider the future of the Boston Red Sox, including my involvement with the club.¬† I passed along my frustrations at my inability to effectively reach the players.¬† After many conversations and much consideration, I ultimately felt that, out of respect to this team, it was time for me to move on.¬† I‚Äôve always maintained that it is not only the right, but the obligation, of ownership to have the right person doing this job.¬† I told them that out of my enormous respect for this organization and the people in it, they may need to find a different voice to lead the team.
In my eight seasons as manager of the Boston Red Sox, I have developed a tremendous appreciation for Red Sox Nation.¬† This is a special place with some of the most knowledgeable and passionate fans in all of baseball.¬† They packed Fenway Park for every game and because of them, I had a special sense of pride coming to work every day.¬† I want to thank John, Tom, Larry and Theo for giving me the opportunity to manage this team through some of the most successful years in this franchise‚Äôs history.¬† I wish the entire organization and all of Red Sox Nation nothing but the very best.‚ÄĚ
Theo Epstein issued a statement as well saying, ‚Äú‚ÄúTito and I didn‚Äôt know each other when he was hired eight years ago, but over time we developed not only a great working relationship but also a personal friendship that will always be important to both of us.¬† He proved to be an unflappable leader for our major league club, displaying consistency, calmness, hard work, thoughtfulness, a sense of humor, and faith in the players even at the most difficult of times.¬† Without Tito‚Äôs commitment over eight years, we would not be the organization we are today.¬† Nobody at the Red Sox blames Tito for what happened at the end of this season; we own that as an organization. ¬†This year was certainly a difficult and draining one for him and for us.¬† Ultimately, he decided that there were certain things that needed to be done that he couldn‚Äôt do after eight years here, and that this team would benefit from hearing a new voice.¬† While this may be true, his next team will benefit more than it knows from hearing Tito‚Äôs voice.¬† I will miss seeing Tito every day in the manager‚Äôs office, and I wish him and his family nothing but the best in their next chapter.‚ÄĚ
In eight years with the Red Sox, Francona amassed a 744-552 record (.574) winning two pennants and two World Series titles. In 12 years dating back to 1997 when he also managed the Phillies for four seasons, ‚ÄúTito‚ÄĚ has a 1029 and 915 record (.529).
Maury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey, and is a contributor to Forbes SportsMoney blog.. He is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network (select his name in the dropdown provided).
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