Terry Francona has been respected throughout baseball by other coaches, writers, and players for several years.
When looking at his career in the game of baseball, Terry is a guy who traces his beginnings back to his first taste of Major League Baseball in 1981 when he first played in the big leagues for the Montreal Expos. After playing and coaching for many years, he got gigs as Manager for the Phillies and Red Sox before his present position with the Indians.
Just recently the Cleveland Indians team he managed lost the World Series in seven games. In game seven, in EXTRA INNINGS in a tied 6-6 ballgame, Terry made some decisions that left me scratching my head. While the intentional walk is something I have never been a huge fan of, I have gotten used to it happening in games. On many occasions when I watch my home state Milwaukee Brewers play games on TV, I hear one of the announcers say “his run means nothing.” Another comment I often hear is “this is the matchup we want here. This is the right move.” The difference is those moves are usually made when it is a 4-1 ballgame. These moves are NOT MADE in a tie game that is in extra innings, and because it is the Milwaukee Brewers we are talking about, of course these decisions are not EVER MADE on a stage such as game seven of the World Series.
The thing that puzzled me most about what Francona decided to do was that this was a case where he decided to intentionally walk not ONE, but TWO batters. I cannot EVER remember watching a game where the bases were loaded and TWO of the runners that were on base were put on base ON PURPOSE!!! With only one batter out at the time, one would think that maybe ONE of the batters he walked would have made an out or maybe even induced a double play! I am not armchair quarterbacking based on what eventually ended up happening, I am saying the decision was horrible before we even saw what the outcome would be! Before the first intentional walk was done, the expectancy for the Cubs to win the game was at 55%. After the second intentional walk was completed, the percentage for the Cubs to win jumped from 55 to 89%! I just have to ask, how many times in your life have you watched a game where the bases are loaded and two of those batters on base were intentionally walked? How many times have you seen it happen in the TIED 7th Game of the WORLD SERIES?
Terry Francona can take pride in several positive things that his Indian team has going for them.
Francona can also be happy about the fact that he has the chance to be the Indians manager through the year 2020.
Despite these positives, he may have made the biggest managerial blunder of his career with his strategies in the last game of the World Series. Only ONE of the guys who were intentionally walked came around to score, but in my opinion you just DO NOT walk TWO guys on PURPOSE in the SAME INNING. Ultimately, his team lost by ONE RUN, and that run they lost by could have easily been avoided if not for the pitching strategy Francona decided to use in the top of the 10th inning in Game Seven of the World Series!
Nevertheless, this respected baseball man is still going to be at the helm for the foreseeable future of the Indians. He may never be faced with the same situation again, but if he does, I sure hope he learns from what happened in 2016!
© 2016 JosephWCarter
Teri Silver from The Buckeye State on November 09, 2016:
Back in the mid 1990s, Mike Hargrove took the Tribe to the series twice. He didn't win and later got fired, but the Tribe Management had NO backup plan as to who they would hire that could do a better job. We went through a series of ineffective managers. I would rather have team ownership focused on the future with what they have in front of them. There were a couple of "what is he thinking" moments with Tito, but for the most part, I think he did an excellent job. He cannot control every aspect of the game. Thus, I am all for the contract extension, which also helps players stay focused, and, if the number of injuries is kept to a minimum, we can all look forward to good things in 2017.