Terry and Tito Francona met the Cleveland press yesterday. Both of them were there because Terry was named the manager of the Cleveland Indians. In many ways, it was more than a press conference - it was a homecoming. More about the reaction in Cleveland and beyond inside, including Indians players, the Boston Herald, and Peter Gammons.
In order to prepare this links roundup, I read a lot of different articles from a variety of sources about the hiring of Terry Francona and his introductory press conference and the one thing that struck me more than anything else is the sense that Francona took this job because he wants to be in Cleveland and work for the Cleveland Indians.
It doesn't seem to be an act, the perfunctory, "hey, it's great to be here, I respect the organization and I'm going to do my best," blah blah blah that you hear at so many similar press conferences. Though there was some of that, there was a sense that it's different this time because of Tito Francona, who is standing in the back of the room, and because of Terry's long relationship with Mark Shapiro and his first-hand experience of the organization while working in the team's front office.
Cleveland and the Indians are special for the Francona family. Tito played 6 seasons for the Tribe. Tito offered up this story about driving into Cleveland for the first time:
"I got a good whiff and thought to myself, ‘This is just like home,’ " said Tito Francona, who grew up close to steel mills on the outskirts of Pittsburgh.
From the News Herald
Tito still thinks of the Indians as his team. Terry Francona is carrying on his father's legacy.
Francona said he became emotional when he informed his dad that he was the new manager of the Indians.
"I kind of cried a little bit," Francona said. "I didn’t want to, but it just happened. You can’t take a job because your dad was a good Indian, but it’s a still a good story. It’s pretty special."
Tito Francona said he offered his son some advice when he learned he was interviewing in Cleveland.
"I said, ’Stop right there,’" the elder Francona said.
Will the Francona's long-time love affair with Cleveland make a difference on the field? Probably not any time soon: this team has holes that no amount of nostalgia and good feeling will fill. For now, though, I hope we can appreciate that Terry Francona thinks the Cleveland Indians are just as special as we have always thought them to be - and very likely always has. The Indians are the family team, passed down from father to son just as the love of the Indians was passed down to us by our fathers and our grandfathers and just as we have passed that love on to our children.
Now on to the links:
The View From Cleveland
- Terry Francona introduced as manager of the Cleveland Indians (video) | cleveland.com
- Cleveland Indians players applaud hiring of Terry Francona as manager | cleveland.com
- Terry Francona introduced as new manager of Cleveland Indians | indians.com: News
- Indians: Proud dad Tito Francona thrilled for son Terry (with videos) - news-herald.com
- Cleveland Indians have always been Tito Francona's home team, now his son Terry Francona is their manager | cleveland.com
- Peter Gammons: Terry Francona drawn by potential culture of trust in Cleveland | indians.com: News