Francona's first hurdle in Cleveland

Updated: October 8, 2012, 12:53 PM ET
By Buster Olney

BALTIMORE -- Two days before his interview to become the next manager of the Cleveland Indians, Terry Francona explained how the job seemed different to him. "It's like family to me," he said, talking about his relationship with Indians general manager Chris Antonetti and president Mark Shapiro.

Francona probably strengthened his case with his presentation: Before his interview, he sent the Indians a 16-page breakdown of their team, their organization and what he sees in their future, and the response had been very positive. The Indians wanted Francona, and Francona wanted the Indians.

And there are a lot of people around who believe that he's crazy to take the Cleveland job, and that if he had waited until next season, some much better opportunity for success would've presented itself to him. Maybe in Texas, where Ron Washington's job status will become the subject of much speculation next summer if the Texas Rangers struggle early, or in Anaheim, if the Los Angeles Angels get off to a bad start. These are just two of the possibilities, in places where the teams might be closer to winning than the Indians.