Tito expects emotional day

April, 19, 2012
Former Red Sox manager and current ESPN analyst Terry Francona admitted that he has a swirl of emotions about returning to Fenway Park for the 100th anniversary celebration on Friday.

Appearing on the Michael Kay Show, he was asked if he's nervous about stepping on the Fenway field again.

"Oh yeah, are you kidding me?" Francona said. "It's my first time back at Fenway. ... I called it home. That's really what it was. There will be a lot of emotions, for sure."

Francona had originally said he would not attend because of the way things ended between him and the Red Sox after the collapse of 2011. Then on Wednesday, Francona told ESPN that he changed his mind because he believes he owes it to the fans to show up.

"Over the course of the week, talking to friends and some people that I trust, or people that I care about, kind of convinced me that [I] may be putting [myself] ahead of some other people, the fans especially, and maybe some of the former players, regardless of my feelings towards what happened to me. So ... in the end I was like, 'You know what, that makes sense.'

"You know, every game I ever managed there was a sellout. And even though when you become the manager of the Red Sox you immediately become the dumbest person on the face of the earth, because everybody second-guesses you -- I mean that teasingly -- they're still the greatest fans in the world. And if I didn't [attend the ceremony], I'd probably end up letting some people down."

Francona is expected to get a huge ovation from Red Sox players and fans alike.

On his weekly chat with Michael Kay, current Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said he's happy Francona will attend the ceremony and that the cheers for him "will be loud and long."

"Tito definitely deserves to be cheered," said Valentine. "On the day that we're commemorating the history of Fenway Park and everything that's happend over the hundred years, Tito's been as big a part as anybody who will be on that field."

"I think he deserves a standing ovation for what he did," Red Sox pitcher Daniel Bard said Wednesday. "He was such a big part of so many good things that happened here."

To hear Michael Kay's full interview with Tito, CLICK HERE.



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