They didn’t have to look far. The night Acta was dismissed, Antonetti called Francona, who spent the past year working as an analyst for ESPN. Before long the two friends were hammering out contract terms.
“There’s two main reasons I’m here today — Chris Antonetti and Mark Shapiro,” Francona said. “We’ve kept in touch for the last 12 years. I value not only their friendship but their guidance and their leadership. I know we have challenges ahead of us but I look forward to us tackling these challenges as a unit, as a ‘we.’ I’m genuinely excited to do that.”
After being introduced by Antonetti, Francona looked toward the back of the room, where his 78-year-old father sat proudly.
“In 1959, a guy hit .363 and that was the year I was born,” Francona said, “and it just so happens to be the same guy that is the best father a son could ever ask. “
Francona said he became emotional when he informed his dad that he was the new manager of the Indians.
“I kind of cried a little bit,” Francona said. “I didn’t want to, but it just happened. You can’t take a job because your dad was a good Indian, but it’s a still a good story. It’s pretty special.”
Tito Francona said he offered his son some advice when he learned he was interviewing in Cleveland.
“I said, ‘Stop right there,’” the elder Francona said.
Francona has not yet hired any coaches for his staff. Alomar is under contract for one more season with Cleveland and has been offered the chance to return as the team’s bench coach. But the 46-year-old Alomar could be a candidate for other managerial openings in Boston and Colorado.
Since accepting the Indians’ offer on Saturday, Francona said he has reached out to several players on Cleveland’s roster and is eager to begin getting the Indians, who haven’t made the playoff since 2007 — when they lost to Francona and the Red Sox in the ALCS — headed in the right direction.