It's official: Terry Francona's tenure with the Boston Red Sox has come to an end after eight years, five trips to the playoffs, and two World Series victories. What's more, according to the now ex-manager himself, it was his decision to lead.
In a press conference held today to address his departure from the organization, Francona indicated that he had not been forced out, but decided to leave of his own accord. He would go on to cite frustration with an "inabilty to get some things done," and a dissatisfaction with the "true colors" the team showed when things got rough as some of his reasons for leaving.
As clear as Francona is being in his message, it's difficult not to speculate. Does he really think it's time, or is this just the organization offering him a gracious way out? For what it's worth, Francona did hint that there was some question as to whether or not the ownership gave him his full support.
Confusing the picture are the meetings held earlier today in Fenway Park, which saw Francona leave and return once during the day. Were these the meetings that left Francona questioning his support? Was ownership trying to get him to stay? Or was it Theo trying to keep his skipper in the dugout? Francona was vague on the subject, only saying that ownership asked him how he felt about returning in 2012.
What does seem certain is that the Red Sox club Terry Francona is leaving behind is not quite so harmonious as we may have thought. While it was clear that they weren't happy given the whole "historical collapse" thing, we hadn't heard much about it being a specifically problematic environment. Now between the beer drinking, bus complaining, and Francona's comments about the Red Sox' "true colors," things are looking a lot more troubling for the coming season. Is this a group of malcontents that needs to be whipped into shape by a stern hand? Or was it just the weight of the world beating them down?
Whatever the case, and whether they made the decision or not, the organization now has another major one staring them in the face.