So much so, the former Red Sox manager bolted Boston once the reports of clubhouse issues –– and his personal problems –– emerged. In retrospect, Francona said he never allowed the news to properly sink in.
"I didn’t want to sit and read everything and hear everything," Francona said. "It was pretty raw at first. When you part ways, whether you're fired or you leave, when you part ways, it's hard. That's been eight years of my life. I didn't even really have a chance to really go through those emotions because three days later, all hell broke loose."
"It was kind of weird. It was difficult. It wasn't just like the normal OK, you're going to pick up and move on. All of a sudden, there's all kinds of things flying around. It wasn't the normal circumstances."
As Francona ambled into JetBlue Park on Thursday, he admired the sight of the Green Monster. The stadium plans came about under his regime, but after the Red Sox blew a nine-game lead in the wild card, Francona was canned.
The ESPN analyst still took a moment to shake hands with current Red Sox skipper Bobby Valentine. But five months removed from the 7-20 finish in September, Francona reiterated similar sentiments from his last news conference.
"When you go 7-17, especially as a manager, you open yourself up for criticism and you probably deserve to be criticized," Francona said. "I thought I tried to take responsibility in that last press conference. I thought there were things that needed to be done. My voice wasn't necessarily the one that was doing the best job at that point. I thought I was pretty open and honest about that."
"After that, when I left, I thought I would just leave. What happened after that hurt me a lot. It probably always will. The best thing to do is try to move on. Carrying grudges and stuff like that, that's not real healthy. I spent eight years there, and we did a lot of good stuff. That hurt me a little bit."