Red Sox manager Terry Francona joined The Big Show Wednesday, discussing Josh Beckett's knee, which kept him out of Tuesday's All-Star game. He also offered his thoughts on the game, which many have criticized.
On the subject of Beckett, Francona said that the team believed he would be good to go Sunday, but that he was glad Beckett didn't take any chances.
"He assured me that he felt great," Francona said. "[Pitching coach] Curt Young watched him and said he felt great. Our trainer was with him and said he looked fine. Josh is really team-oriented. He went out there, he was going to throw the second inning. Everything was coming fast, and I think he was a little out of sorts to begin with. By his 10th pitch, he felt something in the back of his knee, and he was like 'OK, I'd better cool it,' and I'm glad he did."
Francona said he felt bad that the team sent Beckett when he ended up being unable to help the American League, but that he was proud of the right-hander for not putting himself in a bad position.
"I actually told him, 'Josh, you deserve to pitch in this game.' I feel that way with all our guys," Francona said. "I said, 'Just promise me if it's not right, you'll use your head' He did, and I'm proud of that. He didn't take this lightly. He respects the game. … He respects this game a lot, and at the same time, if he can pitch, he should. That may not help us, but I think it's good for baseball and I think he deserved it."
The manager said that he believed the body of work over the regular season should determine home field advantage rather than the All-Star game.
"Maybe the significance of this game has run its course," Francona said. "I don't know. [David] Price couldn't pitch the other day, but he's going to open up against us, so that turf toe must be getting better. I understand. These guys get beat up during the year, and they probably all do have nicks and things, including David Price. It's just the idea -- I know what they were trying to do with the game, and I think they accomplished it, but maybe it's run its course. There's maybe better ways to figure out home field [advantage]."
Francona said the game is "probably unfair to a lot of people," including managers, given that the game is played like an exhibition, yet has major implications.
"I just think the way they're playing the game, with the fan voting, they want interviews in the dugout, they want a lot of things to make it not like a regular season game, and then at the end you end up treating it like the most important regular-season game of the year," Francona said. "It's just not real consistent, and there is a lot riding on it."
Francona has been a manager in the All-Star game twice, but said it is such a busy time that it's hard to enjoy.
"It's so corporate, there's so much going on," he said. "I know that it's needed, but it's tough. I know for me, you fly in Sunday night, and you're already kind of tired. You get up early Monday morning for a breakfast, then a news conference, then you finally get to go to the ball park, and you sign probably two hours worth of things for the game.
"Every time you turn around, somebody's in your face. You don't get to enjoy very much just the game itself or the players. I know the most fun time I had was when I locked myself in the room with Jim Leyland, and we told stories. Now, it didn't get to last very long, but that's the enjoyment of getting to meet these players and watch them play, and the relationships, but it's not very much because there's always somebody tugging at you."
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