Long awaited by no one with their own parking space at Fenway Park, Terry Francona's new book is coming out soon. It won't hit the shelves for a week or so but we're already getting hit with [does annoying finger quote thing] excerpts. Hooray. This week we learned that the Red Sox owners like good TV ratings just a bit less than they love great TV ratings. Big surprise there. Also they're not particularly good at running a baseball team, a fact that would be more worrisome if any of them were the General Manager. None of them are the General Manager and while some might howl that they don't have to be the GM because they're in charge and that's enough to cause quite a ruckus, I would calmly point to the Red Sox two World Series trophies and request calm.
But this piece isn't a defense of Red Sox ownership. We'll save that for another day. The Francona book is coming and we'd all better be prepared for some [does annoying finger quote thing again] revelations. As I've noted some have already hit the media, but why wait a week for the good stuff to trickle in? With that in mind I snuck into the publisher's office and made off with an editor's copy of the manuscript. Why? Because I love a challenge, but also because I care, dammit. I care so much it hurts*. Anyway, here are 10 of the biggest revelations from Terry Francona's upcoming book, Francona:
Hmm... This Bridge Looks Flammable The Red Sox Years.
*No, wait, that's a cavity. Gotta get that fixed
1. Notoriously dirty, even nicknamed "the Dirt Dog," Trot Nixon was actually a clean freak. "Trot would be up all night with a tooth brush trying to get spots out of his shirts," says Francona. "He'd wear holes in the shirts from scrubbing for hours. I'd try to tell him, Trot, I'd say, you're going to have to get some sleep. We have a game tomorrow. Then he'd go 2-for-3 and make a diving catch in the first inning. He'd grin and smile for the cameras but you could see that grass stain was just eating him up inside."
2. Nomar Garciaparra’s favorite TV shows? Soap operas! "I can’t get enough drama," the ex-Red Sox shortstop would periodically shout in the middle of the clubhouse. "I love it!"
3. One time Francona caught Manny Ramirez studying the phone book. He looked and Ramirez had memorized up to the letter P. He was shocked and amazed. "What you doing, Manny?" he asked. Said Ramirez, "Ordering a pizza, man. You want some?"
4. Jeremy Giambi wasn’t just into steroids. According to Francona his locker was filled with stuff, including powerbars, energy drinks, cases of Ny-Quil, penicillin (he was cultivating his own in his jock straps), medium-grade horse tranquilizers, a home surgery set, a magic 8 ball, several rabbits feet, several rest of the rabbits, a live chicken, and an alcoholic ex-electrician named Harold who Giambi paid in vending machine food to dress like a doctor and consult with him on medical matters.
5. Francona’s favorite food he had during his time in Boston? Mike Timlin’s animal eye stew. "The secret," Francona remembers Timlin saying, "is to use the whole eye. Ball and all."
6. Bronson Arroyo wasn’t traded in a straight talent for talent deal but dumped on the first team to express interest because, as Francona remembers, if Theo heard Glycerine by Bush one more time he was going to taste human flesh.
7. Little did the public know, but there was literally no time between when he arrived from the Marlins and when he left for the Dodgers that Josh Beckett wasn’t on a strict beer and fried chicken diet. That’s what happens when you hire Wade Boggs as your dietician.
8. It wasn’t just pitchers who raved about Jason Varitek’s preparation. You did NOT want to go up against Tek at the car dealership.
9. Alex Cora once bet Francona that he could get three words out of J.D. Drew. After hearing the explanation, Drew looked at Cora and said, "You lose."
10. The Red Sox owners wanted the team to be "sexier." That part we've heard but John Henry wanted them to be sexier "in a bookish way." Tom Werner thought they should be more "jockish." Mixed messages are tough!