The Duffel Bag: A sports talk blog with Dale Duff

Francona’s style and all the story lines will be missed

Posted Oct. 03, 2011, at 12:06 p.m.
Last modified Oct. 03, 2011, at 3:54 p.m.

My open letter (OK, it’s really an e-mail) to Terry Francona…

Dear Tito:

I wanted to send this quick note to you before you head out of town. After seeing your body language during the last two press conferences at Fenway, I can tell you want out of Beantown faster than John Lackey wants to return a text to that TMZ reporter!

I’ve got to say this — leaving $4 million bucks on the table during a 9 percent unemployment rating takes guts.

But I don’t blame you. If I had to deal with the high-priced babies you had to deal with for the past 8 years I would be at wit’s end too! I do have to say though, no way I could have chewed that much gum.

Tito, you were the 20th Red Sox manager in my lifetime. Pinky Higgins was the first one and while I was really too young to know his style, I’m sure I didn’t like that 3rd place finish in ’57. Like many of my generation, I started my real love of the Sox with manager Dick Williams in 1967. Then came Kasko, Johnson, Zim and the Major. On to Johnny Mac, Walpole Joe and Clell Hobson. And then came the Sarge, the one “m” Jimy and Grady.

And then you, Tito. My favorite.

You lasted in New England’s toughest job for 8 years. Only Joe Cronin lasted longer. Bet Joe C. didn’t have Shaughnessy, Felger, et al picking apart his every move. And Tito, I have to admit that even I questioned some of your moves over the years. Please know it was for the good of a radio show.

I think that’s why you were my favorite. You were able to roll with the punches. From the media, fans, players, management. You got it!

But now I sense it did takes its toll. I don’t blame you for not wanting to cover up anymore. Pedro late for work. Manny injury excuses. You did notice the Lackey stare. You thought the Bill James temperature gauge was silly too!

So thank you Tito! Thank you for 8 great years, 2 world championships, and all those daily story lines for those of us in the media.

One more thing, Tito. 8 years ago I said you were not the right choice to be the next Sox manager. I was wrong.

Best of Luck Tito!

Dale Duff

ITEMS FROM THE DUFFEL BAG:

— A couple of years ago, could you have predicted Brad Mills and John Farrell would have manager jobs but Terry Francona would be unemployed? Did the loss of some of these key coaches lead to change of culture in the Sox clubhouse?

— Anybody else notice Jerry Remy was mostly silent on the air during the September collapse?

— And one more Sox note….please, please do not bring back Wakefield. Enough already.

— The Bucksport football team. That’s one tough, hard-nosed team!

— UMaine and UNH both 3-1. Take that CAA. Still want to cut loose from the road trips north?

— A tip of the cap to Jeff Mannix. He’s the new radio voice of the AHL Portland Pirates. We know him well at ZONE radio. He’ll do a great job!

— Jeez…Albert Haynesworth was injured and couldn’t play for the Patriots against the Raiders. What a surprise.

— The Boston Bruins host the Detroit Red Wings at the Garden on the day after Thanksgiving. Wonder if former UMaine Black Bear Gustav Nyquist will be in the Wings lineup by then?

— And speaking of the Bruins….The Stanley Cup champions open the season Thursday. Catch the game live on AM620 WZON. Who will drop the first puck?

Dale Duff is a sportscaster and program director at WZON radio station in Bangor and is also a former news reporter and sports director of WLBZ-TV of Bangor.

Similar articles:

View stories by school

ADVERTISEMENT | Grow your business
ADVERTISEMENT | Grow your business