Even after winning their first World Series in 86 years, Red Sox management can’t stop burying their malcontent superstars, both those departed (Nomar, Pedro) and remaining (Manny). The Boston Globe’s Bob Hohler explains.
When Francona first extended his hand in spring training to Manny Ramirez, the slugger verbally lashed out at the new manager, then briefly boycotted the first team meeting. Ramirez apparently needed to vent about the front office placing him on irrevocable waivers and switching managers over the winter.
Angered by Pedro Martinez breaking protocol and bolting from Camden Yards before the game ended after he pitched in a 7-2 loss on Opening Day in Baltimore, Francona privately engaged in a long, heated argument with Martinez the next day. But the manager never publicly criticized his star pitcher, instead blaming himself for the transgression.
With the Sox in danger of losing a third straight game to the Yankees in the Bronx and falling 8 1/2 games back in the division July 1, Nomar Garciaparra sat out not only to rest his Achilles’ tendon but — he indicated to a team official — because he was upset about committing three errors that contributed to the previous two losses. But after Garciaparra’s replacement, Pokey Reese, and Derek Jeter each made spectacular catches as the game evolved into a 13-inning classic, Garciaparra asked a coach to get him in the game. Francona flatly refused, but he never publicly embarrassed Garciaparra after the Sox lost a 5-4 heartbreaker.
Hey, thumbs-up for Francona’s people skills. But why is it necessary at this juncture to reveal such tidbits? If Francona is to be commended for keep dirty details in the clubhouse, are he or his employers no longer obliged to do so once the season is over?