By Maureen Mullen
CSNNE.com Follow @maureenamullen
PITTSBURGH This nine-game road trip to Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and Houston is a homecoming of sorts for Red Sox manager Terry Francona. He grew up in New Brighton, Penn., just outside Pittsburgh. His father, Tito, still lives in the area. Francona had a large contingent of family and friends at the three games at PNC Park.
In Houston hell be reunited with Astros manager Brad Mills. The two have been friends since their days together at the University of Arizona. Mills was Franconas bench coach with the Sox before getting the Astros job last season.
The trip to Philadelphia may be a little different, though. Francona managed the Phillies for four seasons, from 1997 2000, to a record of 285-363, finishing third in 98 and 99, last the other two seasons.
Well I dont think theyre going to have a parade in Philly, unless things have changed, Francona quipped. You know what, I got to see my dad here, which is great. I saw some familiar faces . . . Just kind of going where they tell us. I havent been in Philly for a long time. So, that is over and done. Kind of more interested in winning. But this has been fun. Ive seen a lot of people that I grew up with so this has been cool.
I didn't grow up there. And they dont like me. Im not sure if they like me here but some of the people I grew up with at least. I dont know. Just more concerned about winning games.
Philadelphia was Franconas first managerial experience. It wasnt always easy, he said, but it was a good place to learn.
I was realistic. I knew why I got the job, he said. I was lucky to get an opportunity. Did the best I could.
I think its great training. I was learning on the run. I dont think I ever thought I wasnt. But its good experience. Its not always fun but its good experience.
Maureen Mullen is on Twitter at http:twitter.commaureenamullen