As we all know, Terry Francona was brought in to manage the Boston Red Sox in 2004. The franchise was a year removed from yet another heartbreaking defeat to their hated rivals and, thanks to Grady Little, the manger position was now vacant and going to be closely watched by everyone from John Henry all the way to the fans watching at home. Francona, responded simply by delivering a World Series title and vanquishing all the demons. However, this is not his greatest feat.
By bringing home the title, and embarrassing the Yankees in doing so, Francona helped take a franchise and fan base who simply craved a title every year to one that expected one every year. With the curse lifted people realized yes it is in fact possible for the Red Sox to win one and would not buy into a mere curse as an excuse for failure. The following seasons, 2005 and 2006, provided an early postseason exit and a third place finish, respectively. However, Francona never succumbed to the pressure and expectations the media and fans, such as myself, bring to every single pitch of every single game. He didn't even flinch.
After the title in 2007 many fans and members and the media thought life could get no better; two titles since the Yankees last won one and an A.L. East title, surely it could get no better. Yet, Francona still had not done his finest work. 2010 provided us with a look at what Terry Francona is really about.
After suffering a vicious momentum road block in late June losing Pedroia essentially for the season and Victor Martinez for an extended period of time in back-to-back games, the season seemed lost. Yet the team stayed alive. After losing Kevin Youkilis for the year, and suffering through a short slump by Jon Lester, the team still had a chance. After being 8 games back on September first, Terry Francona had his rag-tag group of prospects brought up too early and players some teams wouldn't even have on a roster (Darnell Mcdonald) within a Jonathan Papelbon meltdown of having a legitimate chance at the Wild Card spot in the postseason.
Unfortunately, this is not a feel good movie and the Red Sox simply ran out of gas in the end, although they still had enough fight left to take two of three from the Yankees and head into the off-season on a positive note. Hopefully through all of this Terry Francona receives his, surprisingly, Manager of the Year award. Next year he will have, hopefully, a healthy team and show everyone why he is the Godfather of Boston.
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