According to those tweets from John Ourand of the Sports Business Journal and confirmed by ESPN, former Boston Red Sox manager Terry Francona has signed with the leader to replace current Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine in the Sunday Night Baseball booth. Francona was excellent in relief of Fox analyst Tim McCarver during the first two games of this year’s ALCS and a medis career seemed to be destined if he stayed out of the dugout.
It’s a big win for ESPN to swap out the disparaged Valentine for the acclaimed Francona. No word on if the Red Sox recieved other compensation from Bristol to even out the trade. According to Ken Fang, Fox was interested, but ESPN offered the better package. Bobby V never really connected in the Sunday Night booth and often fell under criticism for bizarre rants, like this one against Starlin Castro. On the other hand, Francona offered a very fresh perspective and was refreshingly candid and likable in the booth. His combination with the excellent Dan Shulman and the under-appreciated Orel Hershiser should make Sunday Night Baseball the premier announcing tandem in the sport. On the not so sunny side, I suppose this also means another year of Tim McCarver Scrabble in the Fox booth.