After the Red Sox collapsed amid their chicken-and-beer haze in September 2011, Francona found himself caught up in a petty game of semantics with club management, which seemed to want him gone but didn’t seem to want to acknowledge they were firing him. When matters were settled and he moved on after what he calls “seven years and five months of the hardest but best years of my life,’’ he received a voice mail from a certain player who played a leading role in the hardest and best parts.
“Papi, this is Manny,’’ the voice mail said. “I just wanted to give you a call. You were an OK manager. Call me back.”
Chad Finn can be reached at email@example.com.