Wednesday, April 18, 2012


 Last week,  Terry Francona said he wanted no part of the Red Sox and their celebration of the
100th anniversary of Fenway Park. And nobody could really blame him because, after all,
ownership not only made him the scapegoat for the worst September collapse in baseball
history, but they also bad mouthed him and fed the Boston Globe with reports about his failed marriage and his use of painkillers.

But a few days ago, Francona, who led the Red Sox to a pair of World Series titles in his eight
years in Boston, had a change of heart. He said he "owed it to the fans" to attend the celebration, which is akin to players who retire and say they "want to spend more time with their family."
Funny how a lot of those players suddenly get tired of spending more time with the family
(Ryne Sandberg, Andy Petitte) and then unretire. Francona saying he "owes it to the fans" is
almost comical. What he's really saying is that he owes it to himself to show up and make
the owners of the Red Sox regret the mistake they made by pushing him out the door.

Let's face it, Francona sees this as his perfect revenge. All of Boston hates Bobby Valentine
after the Red Sox manager took a shot at Kevin Youkillis through the media, something
Francona never, ever did when he was in Boston. In fact, Francona protected his players and
didn't expose them. He fell on swords for malcontents and petulant players like Manny Ramirez. Francona covered their backsides and made sure he took the heat and not his players, something Valentine has never done because it's all about Bobby Me.

With the Red Sox sinking faster than the Titanic, which also went down 100 years ago,
Francona knows what kind of reception he's going to get when he's introduced on Friday.
The place is going to go nuts when the bald guy with the funny glasses comes walking out to
the first base line and waves to the crowd. The standing ovation will last longer than it takes
the Red Sox bullpen to implode. The Red Sox faithful will realize what they had, and what
they now have in Valentine.

Francona couldn't have scripted it any better. Valentine, whom Francona does not like, nor do
many other people, outside of Valentine's immediate family, for that matter, will be taking it
all in from the same dugout where Francona sat for the last eight years. The Red Sox owners
will  applaud with clenched smiles and thoughts of the giant blunder they made as they see
the hero worship the fans give Francona. Can't you just see Francona looking up to the
owner's luxury suite just as Roger Clemens did when he returned to Boston with the Blue Jays,
glaring up at former Red Sox GM Dan Duquette, who famously said the Rocket was "in the
twilight of his career" and didn't attempt to re-sign him.

The former Red Sox skipper will be embrace Dustin Pedroia, his favorite player and the
man who dissed Valentine and defended Youkillis, for everyone to see, including Valentine.
How great will that be? Only in Boston, definitely, it could only happen in Boston.

Francona is not coming back because he "owes it to the fans",  he's showing up because he
feels he owes it to the Red Sox brain trust to see first hand what a colossal mistake they
made in not only making him take the fall for the team's epic collapse last September, but
smearing his reputation in the process.

Friday's game against the Yankees won't be so much about celebrating the 100th anniversary
of Fenway Park as it will be the story of Francona's revenge. He's going to get the last laugh
and everybody in Boston except for John Henry, Tom Werner, Larry Lucchino and Bobby
Valentine, is going to love it.

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