BOSTON — Cleveland Indians manager Terry Francona and Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell are more than just rival skippers and former co-workers. They’re good friends who will once again share a dugout at this year’s All-Star Game at Target Field in Minnesota.
Francona, who returned to Fenway Park on Thursday as the Indians kicked off a four-game series against the Red Sox, said he’s honored that Farrell invited him to be part of his coaching staff at this year’s Midsummer Classic.
“That was actually one of the most special things that’s ever happened to me in this game, and I’ve been blessed to have a lot of good things happen,” Francona said before Thursday’s game. “When he hit me with it, I was shocked, but it took me about 10 seconds to say yes. I was tremendously honored. … To go as a coach and be able to take it in, I really look forward to it.”
Francona, of course, spent eight seasons managing the Red Sox from 2004 through 2011 and won two World Series titles in Boston. Farrell served under Francona as Boston’s pitching coach from 2007 through 2010 before becoming the Toronto Blue Jays’ manager and ultimately returning to the Red Sox after then-manager Bobby Valentine was fired following the 2012 season.
Farrell said he hasn’t had much time to discuss the All-Star Game with Francona because the Red Sox currently have in-house problems — like their recent 2-7 road trip — that need to be addressed. But there definitely exists a mutual admiration between the duo.
“Tito will always be a good friend, so regardless of whether it’s playing here in Boston or in Cleveland, there’s always other conversation that goes on outside the game,” Farrell said Thursday.
Francona just edged out Farrell for American League Manager of the Year honors in 2013. Perfect icebreaker.