Terry “the Tito” Francona Brings Home the AL Manager Of The Year Belt
In the month of September of the year 2011, the year of the Rabbit for all you Chinese Zodiac lovers, Terry Francona saw the powerhouse Boston Red Sox that he built sink faster than my beloved father jumping off the local city park diving board. Red Sox pitchers were going into the dugout and enjoying some chicken and beer, the Red Sox went 7-20, and finally the 2012 Red Sox finished the regular season by completely blowing a nine-game lead. Terry and his Sox from Boston practically gave Bud Selig the idea of holding a winner take all wild card game due to that 2011 game 162 meltdown. The professional world of Terry Francona was at its lowest point and there wasn’t much light at the end of the tunnel.
In 2012 the Cleveland Indians were having some internal issues of their own. They finished the season 68-94 and came in second to last in the AL. Cleveland manager Manny Acta was fired September 27th with still 6 games left in the season and with the budget in Cleveland being one of the lowest in the league, things didn’t look too bright.
Enter in Mr. Chicken and Beer himself. The man who brought Boston two rings, the man who made the flame of the statue of liberty shine a little brighter, and not to forget, the man who filled in for Tim McCarver on Fox while Tim battled for his life in 2011. The 2013 challenge looked dire, as the AL Central proved to be very competitive with the Royals making an impressive run at the end of the season and the Tigers doing their thing. Francona brought the Tribe to within a game of the division title and displayed an overachieving low budget team on prime time television when they played the High payroll Rangers in the play-in game and won. The Tribe eventually lost the Wild Card game to the same Rays that sealed Francona`s fate in Boston, but the mark was already left and Cleveland was a contender who looked really good in 2013.
Terry Francona had never won the title of Manager of the Year, even during his Red Sox days. In fact, Terry had never gotten close as his highest rank was fourth. The only other Tribesman to win the title of MOY was Eric Wedge in 2007 and not even the Wedgemiser nor the entire DVD series of “Major League” made the Tribe look this good. Big props to Tito for a job well done and I have to join my voice with the 16 other first place votes who put Terry in as the MOY. Stay classy Chief Wahoo, the tribe sleeps well tonight knowing that next year looks just as bright.