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Francona says decision to leave was his

Posted by Matt Pepin, Boston.com Staff  September 30, 2011 07:02 PM

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Former Red Sox manager Terry Francona said it was his call to end his eight-year tenure with the Red Sox today.

"It was my decision. I don't know what I want to do. I know I want to stay in the game. This is all I've ever done, all I ever want to do," he said at a news conference at Fenway Park this evening.

But he was also asked if team ownership expressed a desire to have him return in 2012 at a meeting this morning.

"No," he said. "We talked about a lot of different things. I think they wanted to know how I felt about coming back. I think that's probably a fair way to put it. I told them a lot of things that were on my mind, we talked obviously a lot about the organization, and then the team, and what went right, what didn't go right, and then I told them I thought it was time for a new voice. And that's not an easy thing to say. But I thought it was the right thing to do."

Francona said he didn't want to try to reclaim a lost clubhouse next season because he felt not all of the team leadership was on the same page.

"To be honest with you, I didn't know, or I'm not sure, how much support there was from ownership," Francona said. "I don't know that I felt real comfortable. You've got to be all in in this job, and I voiced that today. There were some things that, maybe, going through things here, to make it work it's got to be everybody together, and I was questioning some of that a little bit."

He also said discord in the Red Sox clubhouse, which was revealed Thursday when Francona and general manager Theo Epstein held a joint press conference, was a big factor in the decision.

"I felt frustrated, my inability to reach maybe guys I've been able to in the past," he said. "Or affect the outcome a little bit differently, and that bothers me."

Francona was reminded he'd had to deal with the high-maintenance Manny Ramirez during his eight-year tenure, and asked why that experience didn't translate to this year.

"I don't want to ever forget, a month ago, we were on pace to win about a hundred games," he said. "When things started to go, I wanted desperately for our guys to care about each other on the field, I think I've referenced that a few times. I wasn't seeing that as much as I wanted to, and I tried ... what I thought I tried to help make that better, the coaches also, just wasn't ever comfortable.

"You've heard me say ... about going in one direction and getting through challenges, and meeting them together. I just didn't think we were doing that, and that's my responsibility, to get them to do that, and it wasn't happening to my satisfaction."

He talked about the challenges of a high-profile job in one of the country's most high-profile sports cities.

"It's a wonderful place, but a difficult place to be the manager, and it does wear on you," he said.

He declined to answer a question about a report that some pitchers were drinking beer in the clubhouse during games on days they were not scheduled to pitch.

"I'd rather talk about generalities. I would never single out players or an event, I'd never do that," he said. "I think I've been pretty open about that I was frustrated, and couldn't reach some of the things I thought needed to be reached, but I'd never single out players."

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