At his introduction as the new manager of the Indians, Terry Francona dismissed the idea that he was motivated to take the job in Cleveland in part by the idea that it wasn't the same critical environment as his previous managerial stops in Boston (from 2004-11) and Philadelphia (1997-2000).
"I didn't come here to go to pasture. I was either going to work here or go back and work at ESPN. I came here because I'm not afraid of a challenge," Francona said. "I thought I was treated very well by the media in Boston. ... I had no complaints about that. Maybe one."
The former Red Sox manager suggested that 2012, during which he worked as an ESPN analyst, was "an important year" that gave him an opportunity to replenish his energy for managing.
"Quite frankly, I think I lost maybe a little bit of perspective. Taking a year back, it's not easy to accept the fact that you need to, but I think it was healthy for me to do it," he said. "To do this job correctly, I think you need to be all in, all the time. I think I was showing some signs of wear and tear. I think right now, I wouldn't have interviewed here if I didn't think it was the right thing to do. Again, you've got to be all in, all the time."
Francona emphasized the importance of his relationships with Indians president Mark Shapiro and GM Chris Antonetti in explaining the appeal of going to Cleveland, where he received a four-year deal. Francona worked with both during the 2001 season, when he was a special assistant in the baseball operations department after being fired by the Phillies.
He also discussed the meaning of joining an Indians team around whom he grew up, as his father, Tito Francona, played for the Indians from 1959-64. Francona said that he "cried a little bit" when informing his father -- who was in attendance at the press conference -- that he'd accepted the Indians job.
Though Francona oversaw a roster that perennially ranked in the top two in payroll with the Sox, he noted that a large payroll doesn't guarantee success.
"You're darn right it doesn't. [It will] make you an analyst," he quipped. "Having a big budget allows you to maybe cover up some of your mistakes. So you have to limit your mistakes."
Francona made clear that he is committed to the Indians for the long haul, something that was reflected in his four-year deal.
"I don't want to be a rental manager," he said. "I want to be part of the solution. I want to stick around."
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