I don't feel bad for Terry Francona. I feel relieved for him. Francona helped to deliver a pair of championships to Boston fans, and he treated athletes like men, like professionals, and got stabbed in the back by them. I'm happy that he can leave the asylum on the 'task oriented' (hard guys) and 'player-oriented' roller coaster.
This town has always been about accountability, of management. Players, "our boys", seldom get the scrutiny they might. In psychology they call it "ownership bias". They get love, respect, admiration, and (coloring our provincial view) lots of money. I don't have a problem with athletes saying they play for the money or choose where they sign for the money. That could be as honest as the day is long. But how many have become so 'big' that it's become about them, and not about the team or the organization?
What exactly did Francona "own"? Did he own bad attitudes, selfishness, underachievement, injuries, and distractions? What he owned was the accountability that players seem to avoid.
I have no problem with the Sox giving Francona the deep six. Management has the right to fire any employee contractually. But the problem never lays at the feet of the players, the ones who collectively lacked the intensity, the guts, the will, and the heart to play hard, play smart, and play together.
All too often, the Sox have tried to get by on talent alone, instead of making good fundamental baseball decisions. The players own the successes they've earned, but they own a large part of the epic collapse and underachievement of the 2011 Red Sox. They didn't let the city or the fans down. They sold professionalism and themselves short.