Features a bonus interview with authors Terry Francona and Dan Shaughnessy
From famed manager Terry Francona, a lively, unvarnished narrative of his tenure with the storied Boston Red Sox...
From 2004 to 2011, Terry Francona managed the Boston Red Sox, the most talked-about, scrutinized team in all of sports. In Francona the legendary manager opens up for the first time about his eight years there, as they went from cursed franchise to one of the most successful and profitable in baseball history. He takes listeners inside the rarefied world of a 21st-century clubhouse, from 2004 when they won their first championship in 86 years, through another win in 2007, to the controversial September collapse just four years later. He recounts the tightrope walk of managing personalities like Pedro Martinez and Manny Ramirez, working with Theo Epstein and his statistics-driven executives, balancing their data with the emotions of a 25-man roster, and meeting the expectations of three owners with often wildly differing opinions.
Along the way listeners are treated with back-slapping, never-before-told stories about their favorite players, moments, losses, and wins. Those eight years were a wild, unforgettable ride, and now the fascinating full story can be told in an audiobook that examines like no other the art of managing in today's game.
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I enjoyed it a lot,
Yes, I thought it was interesting. I liked the details of working for such a high profile team.
My favorite character was Terry Francona.
No, I haven't.
Even for a more casual baseball fan, this is really good.
Fly on the clubhouse wall
Absolutely. Any Sox fan who has felt a little like George Steinbrenner or Bill Veeck has been running things at Fenway for the past few years without quite being able to put their finger on why they have that feeling will find a lot of clarity in this behind-the-scenes look at the ballclub from a manager's-eye-view. Things you may have noticed, without quite making sense of, all add up here. I expected a bit of sour grapes, but Tito's criticisms of the organization all fit with the more-than-casual fan's experiences of the Red Sox over the past decade or so, and he invariably qualifies them with the acknowledgement that the front office and the manager's office have different agendas because they serve different purposes for the organization.
Francona, somewhat obviously. It's good to hear that some of his more seemingly boneheaded decisions were in view of the bigger picture. While it sucks to spend money to go to Fenway on a day the team rolls over, Tito explains why sometimes that's still the best call for the team and the organization.
Not sure if I've heard anything else of his, but the occasional mispronunciations of names - it's "Bill Miller," not "Bill Mueller," regardlesss of spelling - exposes him as someone who doesn't follow the team. Distracting? Not terribly. Could they have found ONE narrator who knows the player names for the Boston Red Sox? I'd imagine so.
Funny in spots, sure. Crying....uhh, no.
This is, overall, probably the most addictive audiobook I've gotten in the past year. If you've been a Sox fan, especially if you've been around for the entire career arc of Francona at Four Yawkey Way, give it a listen. You'll be surprised at how many of these games you personally remember, and at Tito's commentary on those games and the circumstances in which they were played. A really nice fly-on-the-clubhouse-wall book that tempts a lifelong Boston fan to root for the Indians in 2013....especially once you learn about what a nutroll the ownership group for the Red Sox is.
- Hal VT