Mentioned too little in the hullaballoo surrounding last night’s ALCS clincher was the brilliant managing of Terry Francona over the course of 10 postseason games. But for one questionable decision last night (letting Oki start the eight, then allowing him to face Cabrera after Sizemore got on base), he has done a flawless job, in both win and loss. He’s had guys up and ready. He’s stretched out the arms when necessary. He’s had short leashes when most critical. Even, like last night with Okajima (and perhaps with Delcarmen in Game 4), his gray-area moves have been utterly defensible. He’s put his players in the best position to win, and they’ve rewarded him for his faith (and intelligence). This hasn’t been hunch-playing, either, the moves that pay off and make an average joe look brilliant, jading us all.
Lord knows that I haven’t always loved Tito’s moves. And perhaps the treatment of Joe Torre by the Yankees has given me a more benevolent perspective on how to appreciate the tough work of any Major League skipper. So in a week of managerial turmoil here in the Northeast, we’re proud to say that we root for the team with the best manager in baseball.
Keep up the great work, Terry.