There was a great deal of talk about the demise of Red Sox manager Tito Francona making the rounds everywhere in this city over the weekend. It was a bigger story than the presidential race or the twin wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. It was even bigger than the sum total of all the bills we have to pay and of the bills coming up and it even outdistanced our concerns about the economy and job creation.
Tito gone from the Red Sox is a real down considering it was Tito and his players and the ownership team that all helped in to break the curse of the Babe and to have a World Championship finally come to Boston not just once, but twice during the past 7 years.
For many of us, Tito leaving, Tito fired, Tito gone from the Red Sox was like losing an old friend.
He was loyal. He was smart. He was well-liked and he was about the best Red Sox manager of this ancient club in modern times.
Did he leave? Was he fired? Is he coming back?
Lynn sports fans, for the most part, understand that nothing lasts forever.
Lynn sports fans are huge Red Sox followers.
You can’t fool a highly evolved Lynn sports fan.
They know Tito didn’t just wake up and say he’s throwing in the towel. He was fired but gave it a good bit of positive spin because he’s a company man and a classy guy.
But he was fired.
He is not coming back.
Next in line is Theo Epstein, the Red Sox general manager architect who sold the team’s ownership a $160 million bill of goods – that is – the cost of one year’s salaries to pay all the players.
Epstein is 2 years into this scenario with no cigar.
This year’s September collapse was a colossal failure – the worst in Red Sox history.
The register at Fenway Park rings when they are winners and champions not when they finish out of the money.
So the Red Sox ownership has a lot of clear thinking to do and some changes to make and fast – because the next season’s hype is almost upon us and this season isn’t yet over.
The problem, the big problem, the terrifying problem for the Red Sox is that a new manager can’t be hired until Theo tells us he is staying.
It is the general manager who hires the manager.
So if Theo is leaving, the Sox face a doubleheader so to speak of new and important hires.
And then they need to decide what to do with a bunch of guys who underperformed like Carl Crawford and who they can’t get rid of if they wanted to.
It is decision time on Yawkey Way.