ESPN Ticker

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Francona Blasts Red Sox Owners

 By Joel McAuliffe
"Francona: The Red Sox Years", former Red Sox manager Terry Francona's tell all book about his time as manager of the club, is due on bookshelves January 22nd.

The book co-authored by the Boston Globe's Dan Shaughnessy had been expected to ruffle some feathers on Yawkey Way, but an exclusive except of the book was released to Sports Illustrated today offered a sneak peak about what went wrong for Francona in Boston.

The excerpt reveals that after the 2010 season the Red Sox ownership group hired marketing consultants to look at ways to improver the teams marketability.  The consultants findings resulted in the ownership group to make changes including pressuring the front office to add star players.

Former Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein, who also departed the team the same offseason as Francona, is quoted in the excerpt as saying "They told us we didn't have any marketable players, that we needed some sizzle. ... We need some sexy guys. Talk about the tail wagging the dog. This is like an absurdist comedy. We'd become too big. It was the farthest thing removed from what we set out to be.''

The excerpt also confirms suspicions that ownership had obsessed over the declining ratings of Red Sox games on NESN, the regional sports network the team partly owns.

Francona said owners refused to allow day games at the end of homestands because of television ratings.

In the offseason leading to the 2011 season, the team added all-star first basemen Adrian Gonzalez and outfielder Carl Crawford, both of which were traded this past season after the team fell out of contention.

Franconas harshest criticism came at the hands of the ownership saying "They come in with all these ideas about baseball, but I don't think they love baseball,'' he said. "I think they like baseball. It's revenue, and I know that's their right and their interest because they're owners ... and they're good owners. But they don't love the game. It's still more of a toy or a hobby for them. It's not their blood. They're going to come in and out of baseball. It's different for me. Baseball is my life.''

To read the entire excerpt visit

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