Well, we have a little bit of “crossing the streams” here. This has a bit to do with the Red Sox as well, so try to bear with it.

As you might know (full disclosure: I did not until this morning), Tribe skipper Terry Francona has an autobiography due in the summer. Normally, this would not be that big of a deal, as book deals are fairly blasé and a relatively easy way for faded players to cash in. An anecdote here, a recollection there, send it to print, and then Player X is making the rounds. Not everyone is Dirk Hayhurst. It still takes talent, and not many can put a riveting career (or worse) to paper.

All that being said, some names hold more clout than most. It could potentially lead to expectations that might be unattainable as well; considering the atom bombs that Francona dropped at the feet of his former bosses in Boston in a leaked excerpt.

Now, personally, I love this. I love the feeling that, we have a guy leading the Indians who really does seem to be a “baseball guy,” through and through. I never got that vibe from anyone we’ve had leading the team since Mike Hargrove. Certainly not with Manny Acta, who appeared more concerned about his fashionable fedoras and (infrequent) victory cigars over anything else. Am I seduced be the jewelry Francona brings? You’re darn right I am. And I imagine that gives him a free pass to basically work his verbal magic no matter how it ultimately turns out in a season or two.

But it does make me wonder about his personal timeline for team development. The Red Sox make enough money that they could use stacks of ones as emergency toilet paper in case a delivery truck breaks down, or that the nearby CostCo was blown up by one of the Steinbrennerkacynzki brothers. They could buy themselves into contention easily.

Even though the Indians opened the checkbook, it still pales in comparison to what he was used to in Boston (and Philadelphia). It’s easy to tell us what we want to hear; and man, does it sound good. But I hope that his win-at-all-costs mentality is something that the entire Indians organization is able to run stride for stide with along with him. Reading the bits and pieces about he expects his teams, both past and present, to be run, it’s all very exciting. And equally nerve-racking. Basically, because we all want this to work out the way we are he says it will.

From what he’s been schmoozing us with, it sounds like the Indians are his kind of team. A relatively unglamorous group of guys and an ownership group who finally seems serious about being a factor. We’re not very image-conscious, so “winning in exciting fashion” (as one of Terry’s ex-Boston bosses wanted) is not an issue. It is all about the 27 outs here. So maybe my sudden reservations may soon pass.

If for nothing else, he’s made me very curious about his story. If it includes the template in how to get where the Indians want to go, then hopefully everyone takes it in. And hopefully he’s willing to stay long enough to see his plan all the way through.

5 Comments

  • Mary Jo says:

    A former local sportscaster had a favorite phrase “why can’t we get players like that?” whenever a former Red Sux did something to beat his old team. My hubby would comment on Francona “why can’t we get a manager like that?” when he would say or do something we thought was “right”. Well, we now have him! As someone who has had the (dis)pleasure of watching the Red Sux drama for the last 12 1/2 years I think Terry did a great job with the prima donna, huge egos he was dealing with. And team management thought he was great until the players got too big to listen. I think it wasn’t Francona that enabled the players to act out, it was management. IMO Francona should be good for this team and I can’t wait for spring training to begin. 26 days!

  • Mary Jo says:

    Also, Francona isn’t the only one to berate management. Former GM Theo Epstein referred to the ownership group as “the tail wagging the dog” in reference to them wanting baseball decisions made for marketing reasons.

  • Chris Burnham says:

    See, I know all of that, but it doesn’t take much to allow your mind to wander towards the absolute worst-case scenario when there’s nothing really out there to talk about right now. I’m conditioned to be a baseball-pessimist. ;-)

  • DaveR says:

    We might consider the 2012 off-season deals small but they are the best we’ve seen in years. All due to a TV contract. If we start Boston’s meteoric rise with the Manny signing, continue with the WS rings, and end with the collapse then it’s been about 13 years. So maybe we have this problem in 15 years? I’ll take that kind of success.

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