Happy birthday to you, Terry Francona

If you see Terry Francona today, wish him happy birthday. He is 53.

And you well could see him. Francona is in Boston with the ESPN crew for tonight’s game. The network has him set up for a press conference at Fenway and Francona will have to be at his diplomatic best when people ask him about the state of this season’s team.

Before nationally televised games, the announcers get some time with the managers of both teams in their offices. Talk about awkward. Francona will be in his old office talking to Bobby Valentine.

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If there is a game tonight (rain is forecast), at what point will fans look up at the press box and start the “Tito! Tito!” chants? You know it’s coming.

All this is unfair to Valentine, who has been stuck with an injury-riddled and dysfunctional team. The decision to make Daniel Bard a starter was made before he got the job. The decision to let Jonathan Papelbon walk was made before he got the job. He wasn’t the guy who thought John Lackey and Bobby Jenks made sense. He didn’t want Andrew Bailey to get into a collision at first base.

If you were managing the Red Sox and needed a reliever right now, who you picking? It’s like sticking your hand in a fire and hoping not to get burned.