ESPN Boston has reported that current baseball analyst and former Boston Red Sox manager Terry Francona has changed his mind about appearing at Fenway Park's 100th anniversary ceremony this upcoming Friday and will now be in attendance.
The report notes that Francona originally declined the invitation based on the aftermath of last September's historic collapse that left the Red Sox out of the postseason and later resulted in his termination. Francona now says that he owes it to the fans to make an appearance.
Now that Tito will be back at Fenway–and not in the press box for ESPN—how will the fans react when he's announced?
This is a man that brought Boston a World Series title after an 86 year drought in 2004 and then brought another championship back to Beantown just three seasons later in 2007. He sits second on Boston's all-time managerial wins list, with 774 in his eight seasons at the helm of the Red Sox. He also has 20 more postseason wins than any other manager in Red Sox history.
But he also took the brunt of the blame for Boston missing the postseason over each of the past two years. ESPN reported that Francona had personal issues and also possibly abused his pain medication and for those reasons could no longer handle the Boston clubhouse.
Obviously the manager's office is much different with Bobby Valentine filling out the lineup card every day and with Boston struggling through its first two weeks of the season, Valentine has already made some major mistakes. Bleacher Report featured columnist Zachary Rymer wrote recently about how Valentine's comments about Kevin Youkilis could plague his tenure in Boston.
Does Boston's lack of winning through the early weeks have anything to do with the reception that Francona will receive? Not necessarily, but we could end up seeing a ton of cheers for Francona and quite a few boos for Valentine when the time comes on Friday.
So if you have tickets to Friday's matchup between the Boston Red Sox and the rival New York Yankees on Fenway Park's 100th anniversary, will you be cheering for Terry Francona or doing the opposite?