With the Guardians playing out the string, there hasn't been much to celebrate around the team lately. It's been a sad, disappointing conclusion to what may be the final days of Terry Francona's legendary managing career.
In honor of the future Hall of Famer, Cleveland has cooked up a nice promotion for its final home game of the season at Progressive Field on Wednesday, Sept. 27.
Terry Francona Retirement Ceremony
The Guardians are planning to do it big for Francona. Not only are they giving away free "Thank You Tito" t-shirts (who doesn't love free stuff?), but they're also going to do a pregame video tribute and have $11 tickets in honor of Francona's 11 years as the team manager.
And boy, what an 11 years they've been. Francona was only one year removed from an eight-year, curse-breaking run with the Boston Red Sox when he joined Cleveland in 2013. He immediately led the Guardians to 92 wins and a playoff berth (a sign of things to come), winning AL Manager of the Year for his efforts.
He would win the award twice more with Cleveland -- in 2016 and 2022. He guided the Guardians to the World Series in 2016 -- their first pennant since 1997 -- but was ultimately unable to end the franchise's title drought stretching back to 1948.
Hopes were high for 2023 after Francona helmed a young squad to 92 wins and a division title in 2022, but the club hasn't been able to recapture that magic this season. toiling below .500 and falling out of the playoff race.
If this is the end of the line for Francona, he leaves behind an outstanding legacy as a manager. Not just as one of the best in Cleveland history, but one of the best in the long history of the sport. Whoever ends up replacing him has some pretty big shoes to fill.
So thanks for everything, Tito. The Guardians were always relevant under your watch, and you nearly ended our decades-long championship famine. We'll always be grateful for everything you accomplished here, and we were incredibly lucky to have you manage our baseball team.