Wednesday, October 12, 2011

I stand by Tito.

Of all the crap being spewed today, and all the blame being tossed around, the parts that most disgust me are those concerning the now former manger of the Red Sox, Terry Francona.  Yes, he has to expect that the dirty laundry of his divorce will be aired (just like pitcher John Lackey) in a market like Boston, and even that his family will get dragged into things - I mean, who wouldn't be concerned if they had a son and son-in-law stationed in Afghanistan.

No, the biggest disappointment is the allegation that Tito's use of prescription pain pills was abusive, that the skipper had a drug problem that hampered his ability to manage.  Obviously SOMETHING was hampering his managerial skills, but since we've all been intimately aware of Tito's myriad health problems for years, why is the medication a problem NOW?

When Tito was fined back in 2007 for wearing a pullover during a game instead of his team jersey, everyone was up in arms defending him.  The man has poor circulation and gets cold easily - you're really going to make a stink that he's wearing a team sanctioned sweatshirt instead of a restrictive jersey? It's not like he's on the field; I'm pretty sure the umpires don't need to see a jersey to know which team's manager he is.

Even longer ago, in 2005, Tito was taken to the hospital from Yankee Stadium with chest pains, so his history of illness, injury, and the legitimate need for medication has been established for more than half a decade.  We all knew he was taking pain medication. We have known this for YEARS. As Tito said, “It makes me angry that people say these things because I’ve busted my [butt] to be the best manager I can be. I wasn’t terribly successful this year, but I worked harder and spent more time at the ballpark this year than I ever did.’’

Granted, if I were living in a hotel, I might be at work more often, too, but the point is clear: if anything, Tito had more focus invested in the Sox this season.  Something went wrong, that much is obvious, and Tito has owned it, admitting he just wasn't getting through to the players as he once did: “The guys that weren’t down on the bench, I wanted them down on the bench,’’ Francona said last week on an appearance on WEEI, “I wanted them to support their teammates.’’

So maybe something was lost in translation - certainly lots of games were lost during this time.  But throwing around accusations of drug abuse when Francona's doctor assured him that wasn't the case? That's just low. Low, and like much of the news today, disappointing. 

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