Francona will not manage in 2012

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Francona will not manage in 2012

MILWAUKEE -- Although his name continues to be linked to the still-vacant managerial opening with the Chicago Cubs, former Red Sox manager Terry Francona has come to a realization.

"I'm not going to try to manage next year,'' said Francona by phone Wednesday, "for my benefit.''

Francona parted with the Red Sox two days after the season ended following a disastrous month of September which saw the team go 7-20 and blow a 9 12 game wild card lead on the final night of the year. Worse, the collapse was followed by a slew of stories detailing player behavior in the Boston clubhouse.

Francona interviewed for the St. Louis Cardinals' job last week, but the Cardinals hired former catcher Mike Matheny, who has no previous managerial experience, last week for the position.

"When I interviewed in St. Louis, I was genuinely excited about it,'' said Francona. "St. Louis was such an exciting opportunity. But we were all beaten up at the end of the year, and after (interviewing) I took a step back and began to look at things realistically.''

Theo Epstein's presence in Chicago as president of baseball operations has stirred recurring speculation that Epstein and Francona would re-unite. The two have kept up an
open dialogue, but Francona isn't a candidate for the Cubs' opening.

"I've talked to Theo numerous times,'' said Francona. "We both know each other well enough where we can can be honest with each other. I don't think it's the right opportunity.

"I need to take a step back and re-energize. That's probably in my best interest right now. In fairness to myself, it's the best thing to do.''

The 2012 season will mark the first time since 2001 that Francona hasn't been in uniform since his playing career ended and will be the first time he doesn't draw a paycheck from a team since coming out of college.

"I worked for Cleveland (in an off-field role as scout) in 2001 and it ended up being good for me,'' said Francona. "After a while, your perspective can get blurred. I think maybe this will be valuable (to take some time off).''

Instead, Francona may explore some broadcast opportunities. He's been contacted by representatives from Fox, ESPN and the MLB Network.

"I'm going to explore some things in broadcasting and see where it leads,'' he said. "It may be a way to stay in the game, enjoy it and also be able to step back and look at things.''

Francona filled in for Tim McCarver for the first two games of Fox's ALCS coverage and earned universal praise, prompting the interest from networks.

"That surprised me, because I was terrified,'' he said. "I'm not deluding myself, thinking I'm the next coming of John Madden. But I did enjoy it. We'll see. Baseball's what I know. Maybe there's a place out there that makes sense for me. I'd at least like to look.''

Having been around the game for 30 years, Francona has also heard from lots of friends in the game, with offers to get back into baseball in a non-managerial capacity. For now, however, he'd prefer to take some time off.

It will take a while, he knows, to adjust.

"I'm sure that will be really difficult for me,'' he said. "Not going to spring training will certainly be a huge void, but I guess I'm glad. I want to get myself re-energized and if and when an opportunity arises (to manage again), I'll be ready.''

Francona, Epstein receive grand ovations at BBWAA dinner

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Francona, Epstein receive grand ovations at BBWAA dinner

BOSTON -- “I didn’t feel that love after I made a pitching change in the sixth inning,” Terry Francona said after a 45-second standing ovation from Boston fans upon receiving the MLB Manager of the Year award from the BBWAA Thursday.

It’s without question the love for Francona runs deep in the city. Why wouldn’t it? He was the leader in breaking the 86-year old curse, and wound up winning another World Series title for Boston three years later.

Actually, he was more of a co-leader, working alongside the same person who won the MLB Executive of the Year honors from the BBWAA for 2016.

Theo Epstein -- who received an ovation 17 seconds shorter than Francona, but who’s counting -- reminisced about the Red Sox ownership group that took a chance on a young kid who wasn’t necessarily the ideal candidate to take over as GM of a team, but now that’s helped him build the Chicago Cubs into a winning franchise and establish a great working environment.

This October marks 13 years since the ’04 championship, 10 years since ’07 and six years since the pair left Boston. Without question they’ve left their mark on the city and forever changed Red Sox baseball.

And while the fans showed their undying gratitude for Francona with an ovation almost as long as his acceptance speech, the Indians manager recognized the favor the current Red Sox brass has done for him.

“I’d like to thank Dave Dombrowski and the Red Sox for getting Chris Sale the hell out of the Central Division,” Francona said.

Offseason just like any other for Bogaerts

Offseason just like any other for Bogaerts

BOSTON -- At first, 2016 seemed like the “Year of Xander.” It turned out to be the “Year of Mookie,” with Bogaerts dropping off a little as the season progressed.

The Red Sox shortstop saw his average peak at .359 on June 12. At that point he’d played in 61 games, hit eight home runs, 20 doubles and knocked in 44 runs. Although Mookie Betts had six more home runs and three more RBI in that same span, Bogaerts had six more doubles and was hitting 69 points higher.

The two were already locks for the All-Star Game and Bogaerts still had the edge in early MVP talk.

Then things took a turn after the very day Bogaerts saw his average peak.

Over the next 61 games, Bogaerts still managed seven homers, but only had six doubles and 27 RBI, watching his average drop to .307 by the end of that stretch. At first glance, .307 doesn’t seem like an issue, but he dropped 52 points after hitting .253 in that span.

And in his remaining 35 games, Bogaerts only hit .248 -- although he did have six homers.

But throughout it all, Bogaerts never seemed fazed by it. With pitchers and catchers reporting in less than a month, Bogaerts still isn’t worried about the peaks and valleys.

“You go through it as a player, the only one’s who don’t go through that are the ones not playing,” Bogaerts told CSNNE.com before the Boston baseball writers' dinner Thursday. “I just gotta know you’re going to be playing good for sometime, you’re going to be playing bad for sometime.

“Just try to a lot more better times than bad times. It’s just a matter of trusting yourself, trusting your abilities and never doubting yourself. Obviously, you get a lot of doubts when you’re playing bad, but you just be even keeled with whatever situation is presented.”

Bogaerts level head is something often noted by coaches and his teammates, carrying through the days he finds himself lunging left and right for pitches. That’s also carried him through the offseason while maintaining the same preparation from past seasons -- along with putting on some weight.

“I don’t know how much I put on, but I feel strong,” Bogaerts said to CSNNE.com “I mean, I look strong in the mirror.

“Hopefully, I’m in a good position when the season comes because I know I’ll lose [the weight].”