Sunday, February 24, 2013

Review: Francona: The Red Sox Years

Francona: The Red Sox Years
Francona: The Red Sox Years by Terry Francona

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

The first few chapters, dealing with Francona’s early life and path to the Red Sox job, were much more engaging than the rest of the book. I didn’t know a lot about Francona’s background and how much, even from a young age, a part of baseball he was (and how much baseball was a part of him). The middle chapters were fun in terms of reliving the seasons and the last few chapters were interesting insofar as they detailed the collapse of the 2011 Sox. But the middle chapters read like season summaries, and they felt lazy. That is, Shaughnessy seemed to string together stories told to him, but without much scaffolding to give these stories context. Anecdotes and quotes were dropped in without much segue or setup. Throughout the book, the writing was clich├ęd and flat (I was never a big Shaugnessy fan). The last few chapters didn’t offer anything new on the Sox collapse, though the Sox owners were presented as major a-holes. Lucchino and Werner come off as dishonest, while Henry comes off as disengaged with the Sox. All three were shown as caring more for revenue and personal reputation than a successful baseball team. For my Cubs fan, Theo Epstein escapes fairly well. He has a few mea culpa/“we lost our way” quotes for the bad free agent signings, but otherwise is shown as consistently supporting Francona. In fact, one of themes of the book is Francona and Theo vs. Sox Ownership (usually Lucchino).

Overall, the book is not very strong. Baseball die-hards won’t find much to satisfy them. Red Sox Nation won’t find anything new and revealing. And the casual fan probably doesn’t care one way or the other.

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