Terry Francona had to send 12 players down to the minor league camp this morning and you could tell by the look on his face that it wasn’t a pleasant experience.
Most managers were not star players and know what it’s like to get demoted. So they try and treat the process with respect and leave the player with a positive message.
Then there was Dick Williams.
Francona was a first-round draft pick of the Expos in 1980 and a clause in his contract guaranteeing him a spot in major-league training camp. What it didn’t say was how long he would be there.
Francona got an at-bat as pinch hitter, struck out and when he walked back to the dugout, Williams was waiting for him.
“Thanks,” he said. “Now go to Daytona.”
Francona chuckled at the memory.
“It was just like that. It kind of knocks the wind out of you,” he said. “Times have changed a little bit.”