May 24, 2013

On Baseball: The visitor in a place once home

By Kevin Thomas
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

Terry Francona, writers, photographers, bench
click image to enlarge

Yes, there was a game. But the focus Thursday night at Fenway Park was on Terry Francona. That’s Cleveland Manager Terry Francona. Former Red Sox manager Terry Francona.

The Associated Press

"I wasn't going to Cleveland to go out to pasture. Every game means the same to me."

Nor did Francona show up, pull out his two World Series rings and demand his players' respect.

"I feel like that I have to earn it every day," he said, "that we're going to do this together. That's the way you earn credibility, not by what you did but by what you're doing."

Indians pitcher Justin Masterson, the former Sea Dogs right-hander who also pitched for Francona in Boston, said his manager earned respect on Day 1.

"He just brings a presence that's totally different," Masterson said. "It's pretty impressive, his ability to treat guys like men, and to get men out of those guys.

"They respect that and they want to play for him.

"He's the same guy (as he was in Boston). I think that's what makes him so great and why they loved him in Boston so much, and why they love him in Cleveland, too."

Francona brought a first-place team to Fenway on Thursday. Boston fans remembered the days Francona had their team in first place, too.

After the first inning, the Fenway video board showed a montage of former Red Sox players now with Cleveland, ending with several shots of Francona, with the message: "Welcome Back to Our Old Friend Terry Francona."

The Fenway crowd stood and applauded. A live shot of Francona in the Indians' dugout was shown on the video board. He waved with this left hand while using his right hand to pat his heart.

"We had some really special years here," Francona said.

Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or:

Twitter: ClearTheBases


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