There are times when you think to yourself, "karma really does exist." In fact, I wrote about it in this article the night the Boston Red Sox were eliminated from the playoffs...gleefully.
And watching the current saga of Terry Francona's undignified exit from Boston, I have to admit...I am not surprised. Being a Baltimore sports fan, I am obligated to hate the Pittsburgh Steelers, because they are the Ravens' major rival.
However, I maintain a healthy respect for the Steeler organization because their management holds all members of the organization to an exceptionally high, and fair, standard. It is a privilege to have a rival that holds its team to such a high standard, and clearly judges those who embarrass the organization.
Now, the Red Sox—they are a whole different story. Where the New York Yankees try to keep things behind closed doors whenever possible, the Red Sox air out all the dirty laundry of anyone who leaves the premises in a manner as deemed unacceptable by Red Sox management.
In Terry Francona's case, all he did was say the truth: he left Boston in large part because he was shown the door. That is hardly unusual, and to be honest, it should have been expected. After the worst September collapse in MLB history, someone had to take the fall, and since you can't fire the whole team, you fire the coach.
I have no problem with the decision to fire Francona; in fact, from a baseball point of view, I agree with it. However, that does not mean it could not have been handled better. And for God's sake, it is not like Francona was a scrub. The man managed the Red Sox to two World Series titles. Along with Theo Epstein, he might have been the most central figure in breaking "The Curse of the Babe." The man deserved respect.
But no. Instead of toeing the company line—specifically, instead of saying that he left of his own accord—Francona told the truth, and was fired. And now...people are talking about his marital problems. People are talking about his painkillers. Hell, they are probably going to be making up rumors about how he is so invested in baseball to...compensate for something...in the near future.
Why? Because that is the Red Sox way. Because the Red Sox are petty and ignorant. Because the culture of the organization is one in which starting pitchers drink before games on nights they are not pitching. And rather than addressing problems in the clubhouse internally, behind closed doors, Red Sox management choose to air the dirty laundry for all the world to see.
Just like Nomar Garciaparra before him, Terry Francona is being smeared for telling the truth. In Beantown, no matter what your contributions to the organization were, you're expected to toe the company line upon your exit and you aren't given any leeway. The irony, of course, is that the Red Sox smear their own reputation by running this smear campaign—no ex-staff input required. What a joke.
So, until the next guy out the door is vilified after winning a World Series title for Beantown...
Just keep it classy, Boston.
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