Several factors contributed to the Cleveland Indians’ 2013 turnaround. But perhaps no one contributed to Cleveland’s surprising success more than manager Terry Francona.
Indians CEO Paul Dolan recently told Terry Pluto of The Plain Dealer that Francona completely changed the culture in Cleveland after being hired as the Tribe’s skipper last offseason.
Francona created “a culture of winning, a culture of hope,” Dolan told Pluto.
“He does a masterful job of creating relationships with players, coaches and everyone else,” Dolan added.
The Indians were one of the biggest surprises in Major League Baseball last season. Cleveland went 68-94 in 2012 before experiencing what Dolan described as a “180-degree turn” just one year later. The Indians went 92-70 and made the playoffs in Francona’s first season as the cub’s manager before losing to the Tampa Bay Rays in the American League wild card game.
Success, of course, isn’t anything new to Francona, who earned a reputation of being a players’ manager while guiding the Red Sox to two World Series titles in his eight seasons in Boston. But Dolan was shocked by just much of an impact one guy could make.
“I used to think that a good manager would make a difference, but a marginal difference,” Dolan said. “A bad manager could mess things up. But Terry makes so much more than a marginal difference.
“I love how Terry kept things so steady,” Dolan added. “We had an eight-game losing streak. We had some (three) five-game losing streaks. There were days when I felt I was on the edge of a cliff. But he created an environment where players could fail, but then recover quickly. He brought a clean slate to the clubhouse.”
Francona’s efforts earned him the American League Manager of the Year award last season.