Francona: I don't want to be a rental manager


Francona: I don't want to be a rental manager

CLEVELAND (AP) -- Terry Francona signed a four-year contract with the Cleveland Indians. He hopes to stay even longer."I don't want to be a rental manager,'' Francona said Monday as he was introduced as the club's 42nd manager. "I didn't want to come in worried. I want to be part of the solution. I want to stick around."I didn't come here to go to pasture.''Francona, who led the Boston Red Sox to two World Series titles, was hired over the weekend by the Indians. He was chosen over Sandy Alomar Jr., who served as the club's final six games after Manny Acta was fired. Francona takes overs an Indians team that collapsed from contention by going 5-24 in August and finishing 68-94, the third time in the past four seasons they have lost at least 90 games.Francona and Alomar were the only candidates to interview for the job. Financial terms of Francona's deal were not immediately known.Francona spent the past year as a TV analyst, stepping away from the game after the Red Sox following the team's historic September collapse in 2011.The 53-year-old previously worked in Cleveland's front office, and Francona said the chance to work again with Indians general manager Chris Antonetti and team president Mark Shapiro was the most intriguing aspect of taking the job.The Indians have always held a special place for Francona. His 78-year-old father, Tito, played in Cleveland from 1959-64 and Francona said he cried when he told his father he had accepted the Indians' job.Tito Francona attended his son's news conference.Francona said he has not yet hired any coaches for his staff. Alomar could return as Cleveland's bench coach, but the 46-year-old, who served as the club's interim manager for the final six games, could be a candidate for other managerial openings.Since agreeing to join the Indians, Francona said he has reached out to several players and is eager to begin getting the team headed in the right direction."This is a clean slate for everybody,'' said Francona, who is excited about Cleveland's core of young players. "Dealing with players is fun. Dealing with young players is really fun.''Francona said the year working as a broadcaster has re-energized him. He missed being around players and felt uncomfortable when he returned to the clubhouse. He also learned from the mistake he made in his final season with the Red Sox."We didn't handle frustration very well and we paid the price,'' he said.Francona won't have the same massive payroll he enjoyed in Boston, but Francona said he's never worried about a player's salary."I don't care what players are making,'' he said. "I want them to play the game right.''Francona will attend the team's organizational meetings this week in Goodyear, Ariz."I will do a lot of listening,'' he said. "I've got a lot of learning to do.''

NLCS: Cubs eliminate Dodgers, reach Series for first time since 1945


NLCS: Cubs eliminate Dodgers, reach Series for first time since 1945

CHICAGO -- Cursed by a Billy Goat, bedeviled by Bartman and crushed by decades of disappointment, the Chicago Cubs are at long last headed back to the World Series.

Kyle Hendricks outpitched Clayton KershawAnthony Rizzo and Willson Contreras homered early and the Cubs won their first pennant since 1945, beating the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-0 Saturday night in Game 6 of the NL Championship Series.

The drought ended when closer Aroldis Chapman got Yasiel Puig to ground into a double play, setting off a wild celebration inside Wrigley Field, outside the ballpark and all over the city.

Seeking their first crown since 1908, manager Joe Maddon's team opens the World Series at Cleveland on Tuesday night. The Indians haven't won it all since 1948 - Cleveland and Cubs have the two longest title waits in the majors.

"This city deserves it so much," Rizzo said. "We got four more big ones to go, but we're going to enjoy this. We're going to the World Series. I can't even believe that."

All-everything Javier Baez and pitcher Jon Lester shared the NLCS MVP. Baez hit .318, drove in five runs and made several sharp plays at second base. Lester, a former World Series champion in Boston, was 1-0 with a 1.38 ERA in two starts against the Dodgers.

Deemed World Series favorites since opening day, the Cubs topped the majors with 103 wins to win the NL Central, then beat the Giants and Dodgers in the playoffs.

The Cubs overcame a 2-1 deficit against the Dodgers and won their 17th pennant. They had not earned a World Series trip since winning a doubleheader opener 4-3 at Pittsburgh on Sept. 29, 1945, to clinch the pennant on the next-to-last day of the season.

The eternal "wait till next year" is over. No more dwelling on a history of failure - the future is now.

"We're too young. We don't care about it," star slugger Kris Bryant said. "We don't look into it. This is a new team, this is a completely different time of our lives. We're enjoying it and our work's just getting started."

Hendricks pitched two-hit ball for 7 1/3 innings. Chapman took over and closed with hitless relief, then threw both arms in the air as he was mobbed by teammates and coaches.

The crowd joined in, chanting and serenading their team.

"Chicago!" shouted popular backup catcher David Ross.

The Cubs shook off back-to-back shutout losses earlier in this series by pounding the Dodgers for 23 runs to win the final three games.

And they were in no way overwhelmed by the moment on Saturday, putting aside previous frustration.

In 1945, the Billy Goat Curse supposedly began when a tavern owner wasn't allowed to bring his goat to Wrigley. In 2003, the Cubs lost the final three games of the NLCS to Florida, punctuated with a Game 6 defeat when fan Steve Bartman deflected a foul ball.

Even as recently as 2012, the Cubs lost 101 times.

This time, no such ill luck.

Bryant had an RBI single and scored in a two-run first. Dexter Fowler added two hits, drove in a run and scored one.

Contreras led off the fourth with a homer. Rizzo continued his resurgence with a solo drive in the fifth.

That was plenty for Hendricks, the major league ERA leader.

Hendricks left to a standing ovation after Josh Reddick singled with one out in the eighth. The only other hit Hendricks allowed was a single by Andrew Toles on the game's first pitch.

Kershaw, dominant in Game 2 shutout, gave up five runs and seven hits before being lifted for a pinch hitter in the sixth. He fell to 4-7 in the postseason.

The Dodgers haven't been to the World Series since winning in 1988.

Pitching on five days' rest, the three-time NL Cy Young Award winner threw 30 pitches in the first. Fowler led off with a double, and Bryant's single had the crowd shaking the 102-year-old ballpark.

They had more to cheer when left fielder Andrew Toles dropped Rizzo's fly, putting runners on second and third, and Ben Zobrist made it 2-0 a sacrifice fly.

The Cubs added a run in the second when Addison Russell doubled to deep left and scored on a two-out single by Fowler.


Maddon benched slumping right fielder Jason Heyward in favor of Albert Almora Jr.

"Kershaw's pitching, so I wanted to get one more right-handed bat in the lineup, and also with Albert I don't feel like we're losing anything on defense," Maddon said. "I know Jason's a Gold Glover, but I think Albert, given an opportunity to play often enough would be considered a Gold Glove-caliber outfielder, too."

Heyward was 2 for 28 in the playoffs - 1 for 16 in the NLCS.


Kerry Wood, wearing a Ron Santo jersey, threw out the first pitch and actor Jim Belushi delivered the "Play Ball!" call before the game. Pearl Jam front man Eddie Vedder and actor John Cusack were also in attendance. And Bulls great Scottie Pippen led the seventh-inning stretch.