It is extremely unfortunate that the Terry Francona era is over in Boston. Is there any leader who did more to turn around a desperate franchise than Tito did? He won the most coveted title in sports history in 2004 to end the Red Sox's 86-year drought. Then he did it again in 2007. He went 8-0 in World Series games, and they let him go?!
Of course, that's not the whole story. The Red Sox decided not to exercise his option for next year, which doesn't technically mean that they let him go. The point is, they could have brought him back, and they didn't. Francona mused that the job aged him and that he felt extra weathered by the extreme scrutiny that the franchise is under in Beantown.
In case anyone forgot, the Red Sox fanbase isn't exactly easy on its managers. In 2003, when manager Grady Little left ace Pedro Martinez in Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS against the Yankees, the Red Sox went on to lose the pennant on an 11th-inning Aaron Boone dagger. Firegradylittle.com, anyone?
Francona didn't bring on such an assault of hatred from Sox fans (namely because he eased tensions by winning those two titles), whereas Little was seen as a backstabber employed by George Steinbrenner.
After all the heartbreak that the Sox endured down the stretch this season, it's important we remember all of the great things Francona has done as a manager (both with the Sawx and without them).