Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Terry Francona to attend ceremony
Former Boston Red Sox manager and current ESPN analyst Terry Francona has changed his mind and says he will be attending the Red Sox's 100th anniversary celebration of Fenway Park on Friday afternoon.
Francona had originally said he would not attend because of the way things ended between him and the Red Sox after the collapse of 2011.
Francona told ESPN on Wednesday that he believes he owes it to the fans to show up.
Francona had told the Boston Globe last week that "somebody went out of their way to make me look pretty bad."
He was referring to a Globe report that cited unnamed team sources as saying Francona's performance as manager in 2011 might have been affected by his troubled marriage and alleged use of pain medication.
"It's a shame," Francona told the Globe's Dan Shaughnessy, with whom he is writing a book. "I'm sure they'll have a great event and I was part of a lot of that stuff there, but I just can't go back there and start hugging people and stuff without feeling a little bit hypocritical."
Francona then said on ESPN 1050 New York's "The Michael Kay Show" that he regretted some of his comments.
Francona and the Red Sox parted ways after the club collapsed last September and missed the playoffs. Shortly after that, the Globe published a story painting the Red Sox clubhouse as dysfunctional and Francona as a manager unable to control the situation.
"I think he deserves a standing ovation for what he did," Red Sox pitcher Daniel Bard said Wednesday. "He was such a big part of so many good things that happened here."
Injured outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury concurred with Bard, saying he thinks the Fenway faithful will appreciate Francona's years of hard work.
"I think Red Sox fans and players will give him a good reception," Ellsbury said. "It will be a good day for Boston sports. He won two World Series and built relationships here through the years."
Information from ESPNBoston.com's Steven Krasner contributed to this report.