Whole lotta love for Doc from Tito

June, 1, 2010
BOSTON -- It doesn’t take much prompting for Terry Francona to express his admiration for Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers.

The topic arose during Francona’s pregame session Tuesday afternoon, when WBZ4’s Steve Burton asked if Boston’s championship coaches -- Bill Belichick, Doc Rivers -- have reached out to Francona.

“Bill’s never checked in and asked if they should blitz more or anything like that,’’ Francona said, “nor would I expect him to. Me and Doc communicate from time to time, just because we’ve become pretty good friends.’’

Their schedules don’t permit much socializing, he said, but they have stayed in touch.

“Doc has an amazing way -- some of the messages I get, the timing of them is incredible, and what they say,’’ Francona said. “I think we’ve kind of developed a friendship there. I’ve tried to do the same thing to him.’’

Francona said that last Friday night, after the Sox had dropped a tough game to Kansas City, he made a point of texting his congratulations to Rivers when the Celts eliminated the Magic to advance to the finals.

“I purposely sat at the rotary,’’ said Francona, who said he has lousy cell reception at home. “I wanted to be one of the first ones to tell him congratulations but I didn’t want to be too quick. So I endured all the people flipping me off and then sent him a note saying, ‘Way to go.’

“Because I do care. I’m a big fan of the Celtics, but I’m a big Doc fan. I like the way he handles everything.’’

Rivers spoke to the Sox rookie development program, with Francona in attendance.

“I love it when he talks,’’ Francona said. “He has a lot to say that’s really interesting.

“We laughed when he was done, because all the things I believe in, I agree with. I hope I get it across to the guys the way he does, because I think he’s tremendous.’’

His respect for Rivers, he said, has little to do with the team’s won-loss record.

“I just like what he stands for, the way he treats his players,’’ he said. “I’m looking from the outside, but in talking to him once in a while, knowing the challenges of not just this town...

“I love basketball. I don’t pretend to know if he should play zone or man-to-man. Like I said, getting to know him the amount I have, I’m a big fan of his

“I liked the Celtics even before I knew what Doc was about,’’ said Francona, who noted that he’s the type of fan who stays up to watch the Celts play Golden State on the West Coast. “You can’t help what gets your juices flowing. Since I’ve gotten to know him, I have a lot of respect for how he does things, and continue to have more as I get to know him better.’’

Gordon Edes

ESPN Staff Writer



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