The fallout from the Boston Red Sox late season collapse has already claimed one victim; their skipper, Manager and two-time World Champion, Terry Francona.
Francona met with owner John Henry, chairman Tom Werner, team president Larry Lucchino, general manager Theo Epstein and assistant GM Ben Cherington on Friday at Fenway Park. Later, it was officially announced that Francona would not be returning.
With the stacked lineup the Red Sox brought to the field in 2011, it’s almost unthinkable that the team is not playing baseball in October. A 7-20 September will do that to you, but so will a clubhouse filled with a bunch of ringers who don’t care about Red Sox nation or have pride in the uniform they put on.
There have been reports on ESPN that it was common-place for pitchers to be drinking in the clubhouse during off-days. No word yet on whether gambling and carrying on was taking place.
As for Francona, the man that put an end to the curse and brought Beantown their first two World Series championships since 1918, he’ll land on his feet. Francona didn’t exactly appear sad to go.
In his statement Francona said: “I’ve always maintained that it is not only the right, but the obligation, of ownership to have the right person doing this job…I told them that out of my enormous respect for this organization and the people in it, they may need to find a different voice to lead the team.”
It sounds like Francona didn’t like what he saw in that clubhouse.
People have been quick to chide teams like the Yankees and Red Sox for buying their players but the Red Sox are a great example of how money can’t always buy you October baseball.
Let’s take a look at the top ten payrolls in the MLB this past year according to USA Today:
1. Yankees $202,689,028
2. Phillies $172,976,379
3. Red Sox $161,762,475
4. Angels $138,543,166
5. White Sox $127,789,000
6. Cubs $125,047,329
7. Mets $118,847,309
8. Giants $118,198,333
9. Twins $112,737,000
10. Tigers $105,700,231
Of these ten teams only three are playing October, the Tigers, Phillies and the Yankees.
As for the Rays, who are in the playoffs instead of the Red Sox and are looking to ride their momentum all the way to the Pennant, out of 30 teams, the Rays are 29th on the payroll list.