First, it's Brad Mills going to Houston. But who is next? First base coach Tim Bogar? Third base coach DeMarlo Hale?
Mills coaching the Houston Astros isn't just a new manager being introduced to Major League Baseball. It's not just one of those situations where a coach who has always deserved a spot is finally getting one. It's more than that.
This means there's another disciple of Terry Francona in the MLB. This may go down as one of the best things for the MLB in this decade.
Or it will go down as one of the worst.
Don't be fooled: Mills, who has been associated with Terry Francona in some way for more than 30 years now, is essentially his brotha' from anotha' motha'. They are like Mario and Luigi. They are like Conan and The Barbarian. Just read how Francona describes the one he calls "Millsy":
"Attack is a good word," Francona said, of how Mills will take on his new role. "He's got a lot of skills that are going to help make him a successful manager. He understands communication. He respects the players. I think he'll make the players be accountable, all the things we've talked about for six years in Boston. He's a smart baseball person and he's a very good person. That's a pretty good combination.
That's a "pretty good combination," Tito, because that's you! Don't even deny it. You weren't even thinking about Brad Mills when you said this -- you were thinking about yourself!
This now means there are two Terry Franconas managing in the MLB. That means roughly 7 percent of all MLB coaches are Terry Francona. That's up from roughly 4 percent over the last six seasons. Does that number scare anyone? I'll be the first to say that is happens to scare me.
What happens if Bogar or Hale get a job somewhere? Sure, you could make the case that they haven't "become" Tito because they haven't put in the time like Mills, but it's close enough. When you're in the system, you're in the system. You can't get out. You can't change. Sooner or later, you will be Terry Francona.
Maybe I'm getting a little too worked up here. Francona is, after all, a pretty good coach. I mean, he did break the curse. Did Grady Little do that? No. Did Don Zimmer do that? No. John McNamara? No. Eddie Kasko? No. Joe Cronin? Not even close. (OK, maybe he was close in '46. But that's beside the point.)
Tito did win two World Series, too. I understand that sometimes gets overlooked because, ya' know, they're only the best team of the decade (speaking of that, the Phillies are trying to make a run for the Sox's crown). It also gets overlooked because of that fantastic game three the Sox played in the ALDS against the Angels this year. Just fantastic.
Here's what defines a "Terry Francona" model of baseball coach:
- First and foremost, you defend your players no matter what. No. Matter. What. They can do whatever the hell they want, say whatever their brains spew out first, and your TF baseball coach will be backing said player up like they're blood brothers.
- Secondly, you need a lot of chew. A looooot of chew. And you need to say you're going to quit every season, even though that's really unlikely. In the case there is a quitting scenario, have a lot of bubble gum handy. A looooot of bubble gum.
- Thirdly, you must charm the hell out of the media. Even if you're defending the player who recently got caught beating up women on a 'roid rage, you have to make a joke. Show me a member of the media who hates Terry Francona, and I will show you an atheist.
- Finally, to finish the ensemble, killer glasses. Glasses that are so killer that most people are convinced that you don't even need the glasses for purposes other than pure aesthetics. And you can't tell me that Millsy doesn't fit this mold.
There you have it: an official Terry Francona baseball coach, ready to take over the MLB one bench coach at a time. Don't be surprised if you see the Astros and Red Sox in the World Series next year ... or every year until Tito's next disciple grabs a piece of the proverbial MLB coaching pie. That, mind you, would raise the percentage of Terry Franconas managing in the MLB to 10.
That is scary.