05/27/08 10:59 PM ET
Francona set to tackle All-Star tasks
AL skipper to keep detailed lists before making tough roster calls
By Ian Browne / MLB.com
You see, Francona will be managing the American League All-Stars at Yankee Stadium. By going through the process in 2005, Francona knows that there is a lot more to it than going to the game in July and enjoying all the festivities.
It is a responsibility he takes seriously.
"When I got that e-mail today [about the voting results], I told [bench coach Brad Mills], that's kind of a sign that we need to start making our lists so we're up to date on everything," Francona said.
Though the manger is now responsible for just a small sample of reserves instead of all of them, Francona wants to be completely up to speed on the selections that come down to his vote.
It is a process he will not do alone. Francona will keep detailed lists, along with Mills and pitching coach John Farrell.
"We kind of know how we want to go about it," said Francona. "It's not that tough as long as we stay on top of it. There will be some phone calls that need to be made for people that don't make it, not because they don't deserve to [make it], but because of the rules they won't or can't [make it]. We'll take care of that. And we'll want to recognize who those people are so we can give them a call."
If the early balloting results are any indication, Francona will have plenty of familiar company with him in New York. Jason Varitek, Kevin Youkilis, David Ortiz, Manny Ramirez and Dustin Pedroia are all in the lead at their respective positions.
"I think it's kind of a reward for our team's success, for their personal success," said Francona. "And there's no getting around it. The Red Sox, they're popular. Their fans are unbelievable. They're all over the place. I don't see a need to apologize for it. Our guys, we've had some success and we have good players and we have passionate fans, so that combination, you're going to see a lot of guys -- if not win -- then up there [in the balloting]."
As for the Red Sox's manager serving as the All-Star manager in the final season of Yankee Stadium?
"It will be an unbelievable All-Star game to be at," Francona said. "Think about it -- the last All-Star Game in Yankee Stadium. I can't imagine a lot of fans being thrilled that we're going to be sitting in their dugout. That probably just adds to it. But it will be an exciting night. And I don't doubt they'll do it up right. There will be some pretty cool stuff. And to be involved in the last one there, I'm looking forward to it. It will be pretty special."
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.