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.
It's been a couple hours since the Indians have formally announced that they've hired Terry Francona as their new manager. I still don't quite believe it, but there are some personal connections that made this otherwise impossible acquisition possible.
Editor's Note: As part of SB Nation United, we now have the added benefit of bringing on SBN featured site contributors to write about issues both local and national for Let's Go Tribe. Think of them as guests in the community. We're beginning today with Cee Angi, better known as one of the minds behind The Platoon Advantage. Her first column is on Terry Francona, a very timely subject for Indians fans.
One more candidate: Former Tribe slugger Albert Belle said he threw his hat into the ring with an email to President Mark Shapiro asking for a managerial interview.
"I'm just like Robin Ventura and Mike Matheny were last year," said Belle with a laugh, referring to the White Sox and Cardinals bosses. "I'm sitting on my couch waiting for my phone to ring."
Shapiro, of course, has not released any information about Belle being interviewed. It is highly unlikely that Belle would be hired to manage the Indians given his history of both on the field and off the field incidents (as well as his lack of coaching experience), but it might be fun to imagine the sparks flying the first time Joe West makes a bad call that goes against the Tribe.
It certainly looks like it's a two-horse race, as the Indians will be interviewing Sandy Alomar and Terry Francona later this week, and nobody else it appears:
With the regular season ending Wednesday, acting manager Sandy Alomar is scheduled to interview Thursday and Terry Francona on Friday to be the franchise's next full-time manager. Francona is still trying to work around his schedule as an ESPN baseball analyst.
I have to admit I'm conflicted a bit between the two candidates. Alomar's the young up-and-coming manager who has deep ties to the organization and is one of the most popular players in team history, while Terry Francona has won two World Series, has a very good track record of bringing along young players, and is young enough (52) to manage 7-10 years if everything works out on the field. Francona is only 6 years older than Alomar, so it's not really a young guy versus old guy decision. Plus I think there's going to be massive player turnover this winter, so experience with the current players may not really count for much.
Paul Hoynes talked with Terry Francona this past weekend, and the former Boston manager is very interested in the position:
"Stepping back and getting away for a year really helped me," said Francona, who has managed 12 years in the big leagues and owns a 1,029-915 record. "I wouldn't be interviewing unless I was extremely excited."
Francona also mentioned his relationship with both Mark Shapiro (whom he worked with when both were in the front office in 2000) and Chris Antonetti, whom he met through Shapiro.
Francona is expected to interview with the Indians just after the season ends.
A broad roundup of the events of today, interspersed with some thoughts on the direction of the club right now. You get the feeling the Acta firing is only the tip of the iceberg, though it appears that the people making the front office decisions will stay in place.
I'm not shocked that Manny Acta was fired, and that's based on just the performance on the field. When a club is so bad over the course of three months, the manager's usually the first guy to get the blame. And then there's the manager-player interactions.