Terry Francona managed the Red Sox for eight years, so it’s no surprise he knows how to get under a Bostonian’s skin. He also loves busting his everyone’s balls (and choosing ill-advised late night snacks). So it’s no surprise the Indians manager’s most recent tactic involved talking smack about Tom Brady Monday to Red Sox third base coach Brian Butterfield, who has joked he took the job in Boston just to get closer to Brady and Bill Belichick.
Everyone thought Butterfield and Francona were having some sort of argument, but Butterfield joined Boston radio station WEEI Tuesday and said the heckling was all in good fun, and involved Brady:
“I could hear him yelling. So I step closer to the dugout and I want to say exactly what he said. He said, ‘How did the X-rays come out on Brady this morning?’ I just kind of stared at him for a minute and everybody was straight-faced and then I said, ‘You stop that. You’re not going to take me out of my game,’ and I straight-faced him right back. I’m sure that’s why people thought we were having a disagreement.”
Francona recently had a health scare that kept him out of the dugout for weeks. During a July 4 game against the Padres, he felt light-headed and was rushed to the hospital, where he stayed for three days until doctors diagnosed him with an irregular heartbeat. He underwent a 10-hour cardiac ablation surgery.
Butterfield, who grew close to Francona during a 2014 MLB tour in Japan, broke the mock-feud by wishing him well, and Francona responded exactly as you’d expect:
“I just walked over to him as he’s on his way by and I straight-faced him there and said, ‘I’m so glad to see you,'” Butterfield said. “But I did it with a stern face. Then I said, ‘and you look good.'”
Francona took that about as well as you’d expect.
“I think he told me to [expletive] off,” Butterfield said before bursting into laughter.
Never change, Tito.