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Sports


Indians new manager has a long history with Cleveland
Terry Francona says he didn't come to Cleveland to "go to pasture"
by WKSU's AMANDA RABINOWITZ


Morning Edition Host
Amanda Rabinowitz
 
Terry Francona, new manager for the Cleveland Indians, is introduced to media, Monday, October 8, 2012. (Marvin Fong / The Plain Dealer)
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The Cleveland Indians have formally introduced their new manager, Terry Franona. As WKSU’s Amanda Rabinowitz reports, the former Red Sox manager has a long history with Cleveland, and an impressive resume.

Terry Francona introduced

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Terry Francona made one thing very clear as he was introduced to the media Monday: He’s committed to this job and to winning baseball games. Francona managed in the big leagues for 12 years, winning two World Series with the Boston Red Sox. After Boston fired him after the 2011 season, he spent the past year as a TV analyst.

Francona says he’s not coming to Cleveland to “go to pasture.”

"I was either going to work here or go back to ESPN. I came here, again, because I’m not afraid of a challenge and the people that are here that I’m doing it with.

Francona describes Indians General Manager Chris Antonetti and team President Mark Shapiro as “family." He’s known them both for more than a decade and worked for a bit in the team’s front office. Francona also spentpart of the 1988 season with the Tribe, and his father, Tito Francona, played six seasons in Cleveland in the early 1960’s.

"I kinda cried a little bit, I didn’t want to, but it just happened. You can’t take a job because your dad was a good Indian. But it’s still a good story. This is my third stint with the Indians and it’s pretty special."

General Manager Chris Antonetti says the team chose Francona over interim manager and former player Sandy Alomar because of Francona’s ability to develop young players -- something that’s especially needed after a season that saw the team tumble from first to last place in its division with a won-loss record in August that was the worst month in franchise history.  

"I continue to believe in the talent we have here, now as I said, it needs to get better and we need to get better job of complimenting that group, but I’m confident we’ll do that."

Francona says he wants to be a part of the solution – and he’s going to work to bring the team together.

"One person doesn’t stop anything, you know; you do things as a ball club. And that’s what we’ll begin here, now, trying to start forging an identity and relationships. That’s the first thing we’ll talk about at Spring Training, when we get there."

One thing that won’t be part of the solution is money. The front office has made it clear that Francona won’t have the big payroll to sign players like he did in Boston. The Indians’ roughly $80 million budget is just a little more than half that of Boston. Francona, asked several different ways during the press conference how he’ll work around that, ultimately had this to say:

"I think having a big budget allows you to maybe cover up some of your mistakes. I think that’s being kind of frank. So, you have to limit your mistakes. That’s about as honest I can be."

Francona has signed a four-year contract with the Indians and terms have not yet been disclosed.

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