Francona’s never going to go public with how much it would mean for him to beat Boston. That would be like Bill Belichick or Tom Brady acknowledging that winning the Super Bowl this season would be a little more special than all the others. No. It’s far more classy and diplomatic to shower everything with sweetness and ambiguity. Leave it to the carnivorous Boston media to connect the dots. (but I repeat myself! - ed.)Did your unending barrage of chicken and beer columns have anything to do with that? Just asking!
OK. Will do.
Tito is still hurt by how he was treated at the end in Boston. Knocking the Red Sox out of the playoffs would be sweet revenge. This matchup is more than a professional encounter. It’s a tad personal.
Francona still has fondness for a lot of people and things around Fenway Park. He has great memories of the Starbucks on Route 9 in Chestnut Hill, the Marriott at Coolidge Corner, the Red Lantern, and the powerful shower head in his cramped old office at 4 Yawkey Way. He loves Dustin Pedroia almost as much as he loves his own kids and he’s been friends with John Farrell since they were teammates in Cleveland 28 years ago. Tito was Farrell’s chemo wing man when Farrell went for his first treatment at Mass. General in the summer of 2015.Shank occasionally writes good columns. This is one of them.
And now they’re “facing” one another in the postseason.
“I’m not going up against John,’’ said Francona. “Our players are going to decide this. I have mixed emotions. He’s one of my best friends in the whole world — outside of baseball. So it pulls at you a little bit. The way I look at it, it’s an honor to be able to compete against them. And I’m including him in that. That’s kind of how I feel.’’
UPDATE AT 10:49 PM - Typos corrected in the first and last sentences.