CLEVELAND—Of the many reasons the Indians won an AL wild-card spot with a stunning September surge, manager Terry Francona joked that it had nothing to do with his final days in Boston.
“We stayed away from chicken and beer,” he cracked. “That helped.”
Francona was typically jovial on Monday, a day after Cleveland completed an improbable 10-0 run to finish the regular season and earn its first playoff appearance since 2007. As the Indians await the winner of the Texas-Tampa Bay tiebreaker, a relaxed Francona discussed his team’s superb chemistry, resiliency and a roster devoid of superstars but loaded with selfless players.
Francona also poked some fun at himself, alluding to the end of the 2011 season when his Red Sox collapsed with a 7-20 record in the last month. Francona guided Boston to two World Series titles, but parted ways after the team’s historic fold. Later, the team’s clubhouse was characterized as an out-of-control fraternity house with players drinking beer, eating chicken and playing video games during games.
As he does every day, Francona made the short commute from his downtown apartment to Progressive Field on his Vespa scooter as the Indians held an optional workout and a few players came in for treatment before Wednesday’s winner-take-all game.
On this ship, you’re to refer to me as ‘idiot’, not ‘you captain’.