Former Red Sox manager Terry Francona, in a long-scheduled appearance on The Big Show, said that the Boston Globe story suggesting that his ability to manage had been undermined by the use of prescription pain medications made him feel "terrible." He suggested that he had been happy to take responsibility for the organization's collapse on the way out the door, only to be caught off guard when he was hammered by allegations of personal conduct that Francona said were untrue.
Francona said that he was under the impression, after talking with reporter Bob Hohler the night before the story ran, that he had corrected the record and that there would be no suggestion that he had an issue with pain medications. And so, he was surprised when reading the story to see that such suggestions remained.
"When I hung up with Bob, I was under the impression that he understood. I could have gotten him to talk to [Dr. Larry Ronan, a Red Sox physician]. I was under the impression that wasn’t part of the story. We definitely got our signals crossed," said Francona. "I would have put up more of a fight [to deny the allegations].
"The people that know me that well knew that what was said in the paper wasn’t true. It was obviously said to hurt me," he added. "If there was one thing I was probably guilty of, it was protecting everyone in that organization. Everybody. I felt that was part of my responsibility, even to the point where in that last press conference, I said I take responsibility for this. I couldn't get to the players. I thought, 'OK, I'm done here. I'll take responsibility and go away.' Little did I know I was going to be going away limping because someone cut my legs out from under me."
Francona said that the issue came up when he interviewed for the Cardinals managerial vacancy in November.
"That probably aggravated me -- not from St. Louis, I would have asked me [about the allegations], too -- but the fact that I had to defend myself aggravated me," said Francona.
Even so, while Francona said that his tenure with the Sox ended in "horrible" fashion, that he is feeling significantly better with a couple months away from the game. He also said that he is considering some possible media jobs.
"I may cross that line," he said. "That's unbelievable, isn't it?"
Francona's option was not picked up following the season, and the Sox have since hired Bobby Valentine. Francona, who managed the Sox from 2003-2011, won two World Series with the club.
"Whatever happened happened," he said. "I could live with myself. I wasn't the perfect manager, but I did things my way. For seven years and six months, it worked."
He added that "it's probably not my place to have an opinion" on the Sox' choice with Valentine.
Said Francona: "I left with my feelings hurt a little bit, so I probaby have mixed emotions still."
For complete Red Sox coverage, visit weei.com/redsox.
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