It's Tito's Time
I present myself as a sporting resident of New England about to figuratively place my neck directly onto the guillotine of public opinion, fully expecting someone out there to pull the switch and behead me for daring to speak what could be the single most controversial issue anyone could possibly even consider putting to the printed word.
Terry Francona should be signed to a new contract. Immediately, if not sooner. If there is one member of the Boston Red Sox that has proven to be worthy of a greater commitment at more dinero, I for one cannot think of who that person might be.
Francona is the manager who kept enough Gelusil handy to deal with Pedro Martinez in his final and "diva" Red Sox season. Francona managed to coax and cajole a clubhouse full of disparate attitudes into a cohesive winner. Francona made all the right moves and, to be sure, a few questionable ones, in winning that elusive World Series.
Fast forward to this season. Curt Schilling slipping into an injury-aided mediocrity, a bullpen that at times should simply be considered a rotation of bull, Kevin Millar hitting at times more like a grandmother and Mark Bellhorn fielding like one, and a shortstop who couldn't find his groove much less his hitting stroke. Let us not forget another season of hearing everything short of dismemberment threats tossed his way by fans whipped into a homicidal frenzy by airbag talk show hosts. Oh yeah, there's also the matter of a guy named Manny pulling an "el foldo" on his teammates at a time when they needed him most. Despite all this, as of this writing, the Red Sox are still in first place with the August chase just about to kick into full speed.
There's the evidence. I stand firm and fast in my resolve, and dare anyone...yes, this means you...to argue the contrary and find fault with any of this logical reasoning to award Terry Francona that new contract. Right. Now.
As long as you put that guillotine in the garage first.
-- Ed Berliner, host of CN8's Sports Pulse