Nationals

Francona excited about chance to manage Indians

201210031019371831473-p2.jpeg

Francona excited about chance to manage Indians

CLEVELAND (AP) A year away from managing has been enough for Terry Francona, who craves a chance to get back on the field and back inside a major league clubhouse.

The Cleveland Indians just might put him there.

The former Phillies and Red Sox manager, who has spent the past season working as a TV broadcaster, interviewed Friday to be the Indians' next manager. Francona spent most of the day in meetings with Indians owner Paul Dolan, general manager Chris Antonetti and other members of Cleveland's front office.

It was a homecoming of sorts for Francona, who worked as an adviser for the Indians in 2001 and has remained close to Antonetti and team president Mark Shapiro. Francona's father, Tito, played six seasons for the Indians from 1959-64.

``The fact that my dad played here - it's a good story,'' Francona said. ``It's almost a family feeling. I don't think you can take a job because of that but it still means a lot to me. But because of Chris and Mark and my relationship, I am excited to tackle or attempt to tackle every challenge that comes our way and do it together.''

Francona's interview came one day after the Indians met with Sandy Alomar Jr. about their managerial opening. Alomar began the season as the club's bench coach but served as interim manager after Manny Acta was fired with six games left in a disappointing season.

Alomar and Francona are the only candidates expected to meet with the Indians, who will likely make their choice over the weekend and could make an announcement as early as Monday.

Antonetti said he would like his new manager to participate in organizational meetings next week in Goodyear, Ariz.

``If the timing works out where he can participate in some of those great,'' he said. ``But we're not going to artificially rush it.''

Francona, who managed Boston to World Series titles in 2004 and 2007, arrived at Progressive Field at 8:15 a.m. to begin the daylong interview process. Francona spent time in the Indians' dugout watching team employees play in a softball tournament before heading upstairs for the first of several meetings.

The 53-year-old Francona has spent this season working for ESPN, the first time in nine years that he wasn't leading a major league ballclub. Francona was not brought back by the Red Sox last season following an historic September collapse during which he admitted losing control of his clubhouse.

Francona said getting away from the game has been therapeutic.

``To be perfectly honest, and it's not easy to say, I probably needed to take a step back for a while,'' he said. ``I think I had lost a little bit of perspective. I wanted to get back to the things that were important to me.''

But as this season has worn on, Francona has felt a longing to manage again.

``I think getting off the field for a year was really good,'' he said. ``I got to stay in the game and I got to view it from something that was completely different than I had before. I got to watch all the teams instead of just the team we were playing next. It's a wonderful experience, but I did miss being on the field.''

Francona said it was while preparing for TV broadcasts when he felt the game's pull most.

``We would go in on Saturdays and we would go down the clubhouse and see the players and that's when it would hit me,'' he said. "Every Saturday.''

Francona spent four seasons in Philadelphia before he was fired after the 2000 season. That's when he was hired by Shapiro and Francona spent the next year seeing baseball in a different light.

``I came here and I was trying to find my way back,'' he said. ``That was a good year for me. It allowed me to watch the interaction between management and field people without having the emotion of a game hanging over your head. It was a good learning year for me.''

Francona's record in 12 seasons as a manager is 1,029-915. But beyond any winning percentage, Antonetti is looking for someone to mold young players, and pointed to Francona's track record of developing minor league talent into major league stars.

``If you look at some of the young players that emerged from the Boston minor league system and became stars or were very good players - Dustin Pedroia, Kevin Youkilis, Clay Bucholz, Jon Lester, there are a number of guys when he was the manager there he helped transition to the major league level. In addition to that, he's a great communicator and an accomplished leader.''

If Francona is hired, it's possible Alomar could stay on as one of his coaches. But Alomar could also be a candidate for Boston's opening. He previously interviewed with the Red Sox, who fired Bobby Valentine on Thursday.

Quick Links

You’ve seen Max Scherzer’s eyes plenty, but you’ve never seen Max Scherzer’s eyes like this

You’ve seen Max Scherzer’s eyes plenty, but you’ve never seen Max Scherzer’s eyes like this

Max Scherzer is a bad, bad man with a hint of crazy. Yet, situations like this are why Scherzer is nicknamed Mad Max. 

Scherzer is pitching for the Washington Nationals a day after taking a ball off the nose during batting practice. With a broken nose and a blackened patch circling underneath his right eye, Scherzer would not let the Nationals allow him to miss a start. In fact, he was adamant about starting against the Philadelphia Phillies on Wednesday evening. 

The results, well… are straight out of a nightmare. 

Who, in their rightful mind, would step into a batter’s box against a guy that has blue, brown, and now black eyes? Especially when that guy is Scherzer, an already intimidating three-time Cy Young winner. 

In the first inning, he didn't lose a step. It was his highest average velocity in an opening frame since 2015.

But honestly, did anyone expect anything different from the Nationals ace? No one questions the heart of Scherzer. The only question will be for the Phillies and if they can get this image of Scherzer out of their heads when they go to bed tonight. 

MORE NATIONALS NEWS: 

Quick Links

Aaron Rodgers and Brooks Koepka, Kirk Cousins and Rickie Fowler and other QB/golfer comparisons

qbs_golfers.jpg
USA TODAY Sports Images

Aaron Rodgers and Brooks Koepka, Kirk Cousins and Rickie Fowler and other QB/golfer comparisons

You may not immediately think quarterbacks and golfers have a lot in common, but the two types of athletes do share quite a few similarities.

They both look to rack up yardage. They both need to play their best on Sundays. And they both have to be as mentally sharp as they are physically in form.

So, with all that in mind (and, frankly, because Redskins training camp is still more than a month away), why not try to match up QBs with guys on the PGA Tour? 

FOR THE GALLERY FEATURING QB-TO-GOLFER COMPARISONS, CLICK HERE

That's the purpose of this NBCSportsWashington.com gallery, to pair up passers with golfers because of key traits they share. Who's the Patrick Mahomes on the links? Who's the Dustin Johnson of the NFL?

Those answers, and plenty more, lie in this list. So, go ahead and run through it, then head over to @PeteHaileyNBCS on Twitter to praise (or rip... yeah, most likely rip) the choices. No one will throw a flag or assess you a two-stroke penalty if you have some disagreements.  

FOR THE GALLERY FEATURING QB-TO-GOLFER COMPARISONS, CLICK HERE