Cleveland Indians: Terry Francona Putting Friendship First

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Often labeled as a business, baseball provides so much more–including a long-lasting friendship


When Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell announced he would be stepping away from the team to receive chemotherapy treatment for a “highly curable” form of cancer, Cleveland Indians’ Terry Francona knew he needed to be there for his longtime friend. The two were both part of the Red Sox championship team in 2007, but the bond began years before when they were part of the Indians organization in 1988.

For a position player and a pitcher to be so close is uncommon, but not unheard of. That bond remained strong, and when Francona needed a pitching coach in Boston, Farrell was the first name he thought of. Tito didn’t expect him to stay long because of his ability, and that was the case. Farrell left to take the Toronto Blue Jays managerial position for two years before returning to Boston, guiding the Red Sox to the 2013 World Series.

Francona doesn’t know he can offer a whole lot to the challenge, other than simply being a friend and being there for Farrell.

"“I was like, man, I’m right there,” he said. “I’ll met you there or go there, whatever. I may not do anything but get in the way like normal, but being a friend, the only thing I know how to do is be a friend. We all don’t know exactly how to handle this, but I do know how to be a friend and I care a lot.”"

Both were in Boston when Jon Lester returned from his cancer treatment in 2007, so they aren’t completely unfamiliar with the process. Francona and Farrell are an example that even though the game is often labeled as a “business”, there is so much more going on in this game besides that.

Farrell will take a leave the rest of the season for treatment. Things worked out well as the Red Sox and Indians just happened to be playing each other as Farrell will begin his treatment on Tuesday.

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