Francona: 'Im not bitter or anything'

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Francona: 'Im not bitter or anything'

BOSTON Former manager Terry Francona, appearing at a Red Sox-related function Thursday for the first time since the release of his new book earlier this week, said the process of putting the book together had been cathartic after the bitter parting of ways following the teams disastrous finish to the 2011 season.Cathartic until this week, that is.This books been done for a while and we kind of put it on the back burner and Ive been working in Cleveland and being busy and all of a sudden theres a release date, which I probably lost track of, and then all of a sudden everything comes out, which I understand, Francona said. So I hadnt really been thinking about it very much.Appearing at the annual dinner for the Boston chapter of Baseball Writers Association of America, where he will receive an award for long and meritorious service to baseball, Francona said he hopes people take the time to read the book and not just the excerpts some of which are controversial that have been released.I think theres been a reaction to the excerpts, he said. I think thats the way it works. I think as people take time to read the book, which I hope they doI hope they buy itI hope they read it... if they have to choose one I hope they buy it. I think a lot of things are in context better. Once I decided to do it, since I wasnt manager, I had time to kind of dig in and get after it. It was fun. I tried to deal year to year and I knew at some point we would have to come to the end, so we had to touch on that, too. Its a tough subject for me. Its kind of a personal one.I dont think I wake up every morning anymore thinking about it. Im not bitter or anything but we certainly have to talk about it.Some of the excerpts paint the organization and ownership especially in a less than satisfactory light. Francona, who was named manager of the Indians earlier this offseason, said he is not worried about public perception.I can't help that, he said. I tried to word it really honestly. The end was really public and hurtful but I still thought they were good owners. When I made the comment that they didnt love baseball, I think they like it, but I dont view that as being critical. I was just comparing it to my perspective on the game. So maybe Im looking at it through a different lens. I dont know.Francona said he has not heard from anyone in Sox ownership regarding the excerpts from the book, which stated that he didnt think the owners loved baseball.I havent talked to them before that, he said. So, no.Nor does he expect them to reach out.No, again, Im still waiting to hear back on the first thing, he said. Probably not.I really havent talked to principal owner John Henry. Im disappointed in that. That was part of my disappointment. Im sure that probably showed through a little bit. I was disappointed. I wanted them to care more about me than maybe what people were accusing them of saying. Its like I probably cared more about that than who said it. I just wanted them to reach out. After being somewhere for eight years, that meant something to me. So I was really disappointed.But hes not looking at the book as a kind of payback, despite his bitter departurefiring following the Sox collapse in September 2011.I dont think thats how I intended it to be, he said. I can't ever help what are on blogs, nor could I ever. I do think if you read it, its how I feel so if its taken that way, I can'tagain I thought it was how I viewed it so its the only way I can say it. How people take it, maybe thats how they want to take it. I dont know.Asked if he had any advice for new manager John Farrell, Francona replied:"He does not need my advice. We were not as good a team when he left. Ive said this a lot of times: When he came back, the glass got half full again, with a lot of players here, as it should. So except for when were playing them Ill be a big fan. He knows that.

MLB may make rule changes for '18 season

MLB may make rule changes for '18 season

PHOENIX - Major League Baseball intends to push forward with the process that could lead to possible rule changes involving the strike zone, installation of pitch clocks and limits on trips to the pitcher's mound. While baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred expressed hope the ongoing process would lead to an agreement, he said clubs would reserve the right to act unilaterally, consistent with the rule-change provision of the sport's labor contract.

Union head Tony Clark said last weekend he did not foresee players agreeing to proposed changes for 2017. Under baseball's collective bargaining agreement, management can alter playing rules only with agreement from the union - unless it gives one year notice. With the one year of notice, management can make changes on its own.

"Unfortunately it now appears that there really won't be any meaningful change for the 2017 season due to a lack of cooperation from the MLBPA," Manfred said Tuesday during a news conference. "I've tried to be clear that our game is fundamentally sound, that it does not need to be fixed as some people have suggested, and I think last season was the kind of demonstration of the potential of our league to captivate the nation and of the game's unique place in American culture."

Yet, he also added: "I believe it's a mistake to stick our head in the sand and ignore the fact that our game has changed and continues to change."

Manfred said while he prefers an agreement, "I'm also not willing to walk away." He said he will send a letter to the union in the coming days and plans to continue dialogue with Clark and others in hopes of reaching agreement.

Clark met with Cactus League teams last week, five at a time over Thursday, Friday and Saturday, before departing Monday for Florida to visit each Grapefruit League club - and proposed rules changes were a topic.

"I have great respect for the labor relations process, and I have a pretty good track record for getting things done with the MLBPA," Manfred said. "I have to admit, however, that I am disappointed that we could not even get the MLBPA to agree to modest rule changes like limits on trips to the mound that have little effect on the competitive character of the game."

Clark saw talks differently.

"Unless your definition of `cooperation' is blanket approval, I don't agree that we've failed to cooperate with the commissioner's office on these issues," he wrote in an email to The Associated Press. "Two years ago we negotiated pace of play protocols that had an immediate and positive impact. Last year we took a step backward in some ways, and this offseason we've been in regular contact with MLB and with our members to get a better handle on why that happened. I would be surprised if those discussions with MLB don't continue, notwithstanding today's comments about implementation. As I've said, fundamental changes to the game are going to be an uphill battle, but the lines of communication should remain open."

Clark added "my understanding is that MLB wants to continue with the replay changes (2-minute limit) and the no-pitch intentional walks and the pace of game warning/fine adjustments."

Manfred said he didn't want to share specifics of his priorities for alterations.

"There's a variety of changes that can be undertaken," Manfred said. "I'm committed to the idea that we have a set of proposals out there and we continue to discuss those proposals in private."

MLB has studied whether to restore the lower edge of the strike zone from just beneath the kneecap to its pre-1996 level - at the top of the kneecap. Management would like to install 20-second pitch clocks in an attempt to speed the pace of play - they have been used at Triple-A and Double-A for the past two seasons.

Players also have been against limiting mound meetings. The least controversial change appears to be allowing a team to call for an intentional walk without the pitcher having to throw pitches. In addition, MLB likely can alter some video review rules without the union's agreement- such as shortening the time a manager has to call for a review.

"Most of this stuff that they were talking about I don't think it would have been a major adjustment for us," Royals manager Ned Yost said.

Manfred said starting runners on second base in extra innings sounds unlikely to be implemented in the majors. The change will be experimented with during the World Baseball Classic and perhaps at some short-season Class A leagues. Manfred said it was a special-purpose rule "beneficial in developmental leagues."

Manfred also said Tuesday that a renovated Wrigley Field would be a great choice to host an All-Star Game and Las Vegas could be a "viable market for us."

"I don't think that the presence of legalized gambling in Las Vegas should necessarily disqualify that market as a potential major league city," Manfred said.

Massarotti: '0% chance Ortiz comes out of retirement'

Massarotti: '0% chance Ortiz comes out of retirement'

Tony Massarotti in the Cumberland Farms lounge believes there is 0% chance David Ortiz comes out of retirement.