*Thanks to Kelly for the picture*
I really have no clue what Tito is doing to Pedroia in this picture: he's either giving him a neck rub, a noogie, or is measuring him to see if he's grown any taller. Whatever it is, it's a perfect picture of what kind of manager Terry Francona is: a players manager.
Oh yeah, he's also a winning manager: After an 86 year drought in Boston, all this guy has done in 4 years is win TWO World Series, and yet he remains one of the most underpaid skippers in the game.
He may not be the best when it comes to in-game strategy (though I challenge you to find one major mistake he made in the World Series and you can count on one hand the ones he made in the playoffs combined), he is more often than not loyal to a fault, and his arguments with the Umpires are some of the worse you'll see.
If you ask any player on this team what they think about Francona, however, I'd almost bet the farm you'd get a positive response. Well, Julian may still be a little miffed he was left off the post season roster, but other than him, I really can't think of anyone else.
Epstein has been on record saying that once they got all the on field decisions taken care of that Tito was next on the to-do list. I know there is still the tiny matter of trying to trade for Johan Santana still hanging out there, but I hope the second item on the agenda is inking Francona to a much deserved contract extension.
This guy has endured knee replacement, throwing up blood, trying to quit chewing tobacco, and Manny being Manny on a daily basis since he got here: and all he's done is WIN. Add to all that the fact that after EVERY game he's had to endure Tina Cervasio asking some of the most idiotic questions known to man and he's managed to keep from beating her about the head with the microphone so far, there is no question he deserves to be in the top 5% when it comes to pay scale for MLB managers.
Theo: it's time.
Time to show your manager some love.
After all, he's earned it.