SARASOTA, Fla. -- Buck Showalter's comments about Theo Epstein were made public in the middle of last week, but the story isn't dying off just yet.
Showalter told the April edition of Men's Journal: "I'd like to see how smart Theo Epstein is with the Tampa Bay Rays payroll. You acquired Carl Crawford 'cause you paid more than anyone else, and that's what makes you smarter? That's why I like whipping their butt. It's great, knowing those guys with the 205 million payroll are saying, 'How the hell are they beating us?' "
Sunday morning, before the Sox met Showalter's Baltimore Orioles, Francona was asked for his response.
"I was actually kind of aggravated a little bit," said the Sox manager. "I don't think that's anybody's place. That's my boss. It's not the end of the world, but I thought he shouldn't have done it.''
Francona also took issue with the "beating their butts,'' remark.
"I don't remember them beating us that much,'' he said. "Maybe it was a different schedule."
Told the Orioles were 3-3 with Showalter as their manager against the Red Sox, Francona responded: "Way to go . . .
"I just thought that was a little bit out of line," said Francona, who also said he doesn't plan to speak to Showalter about the incident. "I don't think he'd be appreciating if I said something about Orioles boss Andy MacPhail, which I wouldn't. It's none of my business. And for the record, I think Andy's really good."
After the game, Showalter told reporters that he spoke with Francona before the game and told his Boston counterpart that he understood his aggravation.
Interestingly, on the day in which the Sox visited the O's and Showalter, the Red Sox public relations staff included a section in the media notes headlined "Theo's Tenure,'' which chronicled the team's achievements under Epstein (six playoff appearances, six 95-win seasons) as well as Epstein being named GM of the Decade by both Sports Illustrated and The Sporting News.