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updated: 10/1/2011 7:14 PM

Cubs, White Sox should be fighting over Francona

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  • Manager Terry Francona is available after parting ways with the Boston Red Sox.

      Manager Terry Francona is available after parting ways with the Boston Red Sox.
    Associated Press

 
 

This should go without saying because it's an example of stating the obvious as if it were profound.

But these are the Cubs and the White Sox so everything has to be spelled out for them. Here goes: Terry Francona should manage his 2012 home games in Chicago.

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At Wrigley Field or Comiskey Park or maybe even both if that's what it takes to revive baseball in our town.

Considering the state of the Sox and Cubs, Francona deserves an apology from anyone suggesting he be sentenced here.

But our town needs a shot of adrenaline, Francona could provide one, and maybe he could be wooed by neglecting to inform him of all the absurd player contracts burdening the Sox and Cubs.

Like a year ago when the Cubs had an opening and it was rumored that Joe Girardi might be available, Francona is the No. 1 candidate and everybody else is No. 2.

Right now Jerry Reinsdorf and Tom Ricketts should be scheduling a mixed biting-clawing-kicking arts match over Francona's services.

Of course, this is more a pipe dream than a dream because Reinsdorf's White Sox and Ricketts' Cubs likely are concocting reasons not to hire Francona than reasons to hire him.

Francona is more likely to wind up at ESPN or the French Riviera than in Wrigley Field or Comiskey Park.

Still, it's hard to ignore timing this good. Just as the Sox need a manager to replace Ozzie Guillen and the Cubs likely will need one to replace Mike Quade Boston and Francona consummate a divorce!

This isn't to say that Francona is a perfect manager. If he were the Red Sox would be playing in the playoffs and picking up the option on his contract.

But circumstances made Francona available and for the Cubs and the White Sox not to pursue him would be a violation of the unspoken pact between team and fan.

Yet the odds are that the Sox will pass on Francona because he is worth more in salary than Reinsdorf customarily is willing to pay a manager.

Meanwhile, the Cubs probably will try to foist upon the public the notion that they want an emerging manager to fit into some imaginary youth movement.

Normal baseball procedure suggests that Ricketts should hire a general manager first and let him hire the field manager. However, Ricketts already varied from that concept by extending vice president/player personnel Oneri Fleita's deal.

Hiring Francona immediately is justifiable because if a general manager candidate doesn't want a two-time World Series winner, he is the wrong GM for the Cubs anyway.

Much of the Chicago speculation over Francona involves the Sox because he managed in their farm system, participated in the Michael Jordan baseball follies at Double-A Birmingham and reportedly is a Reinsdorf favorite.

But that, along with the fact that Francona played for the Cubs in 1986, shouldn't matter. All that should is today, and today both the Cubs and Sox need a manager, one of the game's best is on the market, and each team should try to outbid the other to land him.

Ozzie Guillen and Lou Piniella portrayed our town as really tough, but Francona survived eight years in really, really tough Boston.

Overall Terry Francona is a good fit here, which should be obvious even if the Cubs and Sox often view the obvious as if it were profound.

mimrem@dailyherald.com

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