Leyland bristles at Francona treatment

December, 5, 2011
12/05/11
1:55
PM ET
DALLAS -- Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland expressed distress at the hits Terry Francona has taken since being let go as manager of the Red Sox.

“It just breaks my heart that Terry is in a situation that he’s forced to be as upset as he is,’’ Leyland said here at the winter meetings Monday. “He’s such a great guy and a great manager. I mean, he’s a great manager. Two World Series. Just breaks my heart this guy all of a sudden you don’t hear anything about him. I’m not talking about the Red Sox, I’m talking about just in general being disrespectful to a guy who did what he did.

“Last year I watched the MLB Network before spring training -- former players, all their [analysts]. Their No. 1 manager was Terry Francona. No. 1, and rightfully so. I don’t know if he was better than LaRussa and that, but he was the No. 1 guy. Now all of a sudden it’s like, not this guy. That just breaks my heart for a guy who did what he did, evidently not getting respect.

“You’re not going to meet a nicer guy than him, and he wasn’t doing anything different this year than he did in 2004 and ’07. They hadn’t won in 100 [expletive] years and within seven years they win two World Series. It upsets me. I know him well. This guy is a great guy and a great manager.’’

Leyland said he was disappointed that the Red Sox did not hire Gene Lamont, his longtime coach, as manager.

“I thought he would have been a perfect fit there,’’ Leyland said. “I didn’t have anything against Bobby Valentine getting it. I wanted my coach to get it. I was pulling so hard for him.

“I don’t know Bobby very well. He’s a smart guy, a very bright guy, a very good baseball man and they’re going to do good because they have a helluva team. They were the best team we played last year.

“One thing he said right is this is one heckuva job for him to get.’’

Gordon Edes

Red Sox reporter, ESPNBoston.com

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