Francona: Red Sox owners don’t love baseball

Former Red Sox manager Terry Francona and Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy have a book coming out Jan. 22.

“Francona: The Red Sox Years” does not paint the Red Sox ownership group in a favorable light.

Via Sports Illustrated, which is running an excerpt this week, comes news that the team owners commissioned a study by marketing executives after the 2010 season about how to improve the team’s image. Their solution was to get more star players.

“They told us we didn’t have any marketable players. We need some sexy guys. Talk about the tail wagging the dog,” former general manager Theo Epstein says in the book. “We’d become too big. It was the farthest thing removed from what we set out to be.”


“[That] was evidence to me of the inherent tension between building a baseball operation the way I thought was best and the realities of being in a big market … which had gotten bigger than any of us could handle.”

The Red Sox traded for Adrian Gonzalez and signed Carl Crawford. This started the team on a path that led to Francona being fired, Epstein quitting, and the team becoming one of the worst in baseball.

“I don’t think they love baseball,” Francona says in the book. “I think they like baseball. It’s revenue, and I know that’s their right and their interest because they’re owners … It’s still more of a toy or hobby for them. It’s not their blood. They’re going to come in and out of baseball. It’s different for me. Baseball is my life.”

The book also details team chairman Tom Werner telling Francona that the team needed to win in a “more exciting fashion.”

Count on more unflattering passages coming to light in the coming days and weeks. Francona clearly wasn’t happy with how his time with the Red Sox ended, and the book will give his side of what went down.


The Globe will publish excerpts from the book three consecutive days beginning Jan. 27.

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