FORT MYERS, Fla. — Theo Epstein and Terry Francona are entering their eighth season together with the Red Sox.
Only one other GM/manager tandem in baseball can match that, the one with the White Sox. Kenny Williams and Ozzie Guillen also are starting up their eighth season.
Francona reflected a bit on that relationship today and it was clear how much he values it.
“The [best] way you can judge it is we’re going on our eighth year now in a really crazy place. If you didn’t have an extremely strong relationship, you’d have no chance in this market. There’s a lot of trust,” he said.
Francona, 51, and Epstein, 37, aren't quite of different generations. But they do come from markedly different backgrounds. Francona was the son of a ballplayer and Epstein the son of an college professor and novelist. Tito went to Arizona to play ball. Theo went to Yale for American studies.
But the Red Sox have averaged 93.4 wins on their watch and won two World Series titles.
It’s not always a celebration, however.
“We have our moments, which I think you’re supposed to. I don’t think he would want somebody to be the manager of his team and not have a strong opinion. And I value his opinion a lot; he knows that,” Francona said.
When there are disagreements and raised voices, Francona said, you have to move ahead.
“There’s not very many of those days,” he said. “It’s good. I’ve learned a lot. I’ve learned that being a manager, you’re worried about today. Being the general manager, you need to be a little bit more of a caretaker of the organization.
“I’ve learned to respect that a little bit more. I also know when the chips are down in the realty tough times, I know where I can turn and he knows that.”