NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Taking his turn among the 30-minute managers' media sessions at the baseball winter meetings Wednesday afternoon, a jovial Terry Francona talked openly about his departure from Boston.
"I think it’s a little bit of a misrepresentation," he said. "If you really think about it, all of September (2011) wasn’t like me and you guys were feuding. We had an awful September. It was a tough, uphill battle for us. We were like leaking oil every day. But our biggest concern was trying to get to the playoffs.
"We didn’t deal with any of those issues until after the season. It’s kind of weird. I didn’t have a chance to sit back and think about not having that job. Two days later, I was defending myself. It was hurtful. And where it went from there was disappointing. Time does have a way of … I don’t want to go through life being, I don’t know if vindictive is the right word, but that’s not healthy. I had too many people there that are too special.
"I was disappointed in the way it ended, and I’ll probably always feel that way, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a great seven years and five months."
Francona also talked about the book he has coming out, chronicling his eight years as manager of the Red Sox.
"Fallout? I hope people buy it," he said of book he co-authored with Dan Shaughnessy. "I spent a lot of time. No, I think it's more‑‑ it's eight years of a lot of funny, some emotional, a couple sad things. I think Dan busted his rear end on this thing. The fact that, first of all, me and him were together doing it was a shock to me." He then elaborated on doing the book with Shaughnessy, saying, "First time I picked him up, I told him, you have to blackout the windows because I don't want people to see you driving me around. It ended up being probably‑‑ I had a year where I could do it because under normal circumstances, you can't do it. And it ended up being kind of fun.
"I think, for the most part, if somebody ends up being bent out of shape, that was not ever the intent. It was just to kind of tell the story, and I hope that people take it that way because I think it's a really good story."
Francona also touched on his return for the 100th anniversary of Fenway Park.
"I was conflicted,” he said. “I wasn’t planning on doing it. I talked to some people who told me maybe I was being a little self centered. I wasn’t too thrilled about that. I was glad to be there and I was glad to leave. ... Besides that one guy in the third row that used to scream at me, Boston is a wonderful place. If you care about baseball, it’s a wonderful place. Sometimes things happen in that city. You can’t have all that good without having some of the bad, and I got caught up in it."
Francona talked about his Indians' failed pursuit of free agent Shane Victorino, who turned down Cleveland's offer of four years, $44 million to sign with the Red Sox at three years, $39 million.
"You know what, it's kind of hard to fault a guy like Shane Victorino for going to Boston," he said. "When guys get to be a free agent, they earn that right to go wherever they want, and it's a great baseball town.
Again, I have a lot of respect for him and the way he went about his decision. So it's kind of hard to fault somebody for that."
The Indians' manager also joked when asked about his perception of John Farrell's coaching staff with the Red Sox, saying, "I want to be careful on rating everything that Boston does. That's not my job anymore. I'm a manager of another team. I think, being totally honest, I think Boston's biggest weakness is their manager. I want to kind of stay away from that. I don't need to rate everything John does. That's not going to work."
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