Fran­cona can pre­pare Hall of Fame speech

The Morning Journal (Lorain, OH) - - SPORTS - Jeff Schudel Reach Schudel at JSchudel@News-Her­ald. com. On Twit­ter: @jsproin­sider

In­di­ans man­ager Terry Fran­cona is pol­ish­ing a Hall of Fame re­sume, Jeff Schudel writes. Plus, thoughts on the Browns run game and Bleacher Re­port’s pre­dic­tion on the Cava­liers’ record.

Twenty-three man­agers are in the Base­ball Hall of Fame. At some point, Terry Fran­cona’s name should be added to that dis­tin­guished group.

Fran­cona, in his sixth year manag­ing the In­di­ans, has been on the job 18 sea­sons, run­ning the Philadel­phia Phillies, Bos­ton Red Sox and the Tribe.

Fran­cona won two World Se­ries with the Red Sox and guided the In­di­ans to the sev­enth game of the 2016 World Se­ries against the Cubs. He has the In­di­ans on the verge of win­ning their third straight AL Cen­tral Di­vi­sion ti­tle.

Joe McCarthy and Casey Sten­gel each led the Yan­kees to seven World Se­ries ti­tles — the all-time record for man­agers.

Fran­cona, 1,547-1,320 as a man­ager, has a .540 win­ning per­cent­age de­spite fin­ish­ing 285-363 in four sea­sons with the Phillies. He was 744-552 with the Red Sox and is 518405 with the In­di­ans.

The In­di­ans, as­sum­ing they hold onto their di­vi­sion lead, come Oc­to­ber will be in the play­offs for the fourth time in six years un­der Fran­cona. They weren’t elim­i­nated in 2014 un­til Game 160 and weren’t elim­i­nated in 2015 un­til Game 159.

Ac­cord­ing to Hall of Fame Com­mit­tee rules re­gard­ing man­agers, a can­di­date must have man­aged at least 10 sea­sons and be re­tired at least five years. Can­di­dates 65 or older are el­i­gi­ble six months af­ter re­tir­ing.

Un­like qual­i­fied mem­bers of the Base­ball Writ­ers As­so­ci­a­tion of Amer­ica, who elect re­tired play­ers to the Hall of Fame, man­agers are elected by a vote of the Veter­ans Com­mit­tee. Fran­cona is 59, so if he re­tired af­ter this sea­son — he has no plans to do so — he would not be el­i­gi­ble for Coop­er­stown un­til 2023.

Num­bers alone do not tell the whole story about Fran­cona. Play­ers re-sign with the In­di­ans be­cause of him. Free agents, in­clud­ing Mike Napoli in 2016 and Ed­win En­car­na­cion in 2017, sign with the In­di­ans be­cause they want to play for him Fran­cona.

“It would have been very easy for some­one of Tito’s ac­com­plish­ments, his ré­sumé, his suc­cess, to just say, ‘Hey, this is me, here I am.’” In­di­ans pres­i­dent Chris An­tonetti told The Ringer in 2017, re­call­ing when Fran­cona in­ter­viewed for the In­di­ans man­age­rial job in 2012. “And he ap­proached that process the ex­act op­po­site. He ac­tu­ally took the time to write out six or seven pages of things that were im­por­tant to him. .. He is al­ways a good two, three, four steps ahead of most ev­ery­one else.”

In­di­ans re­lief pitcher Cody Allen summed up per­fectly the way play­ers feel about Fran­cona in the same Ringer ar­ti­cle.

“No one cares what you know un­til they know that you care,” Allen says. “Just as in­di­vid­u­als, Tito re­ally, truly cares about all of us, and he wants per­sonal, in­di­vid­ual suc­cess for ev­ery sin­gle one of us. And he’s re­ally good at try­ing to rally all of that and put it into a team at­mos­phere. He’s an un­be­liev­able com­mu­ni­ca­tor.”

This is not a one-man cru­sade to get Fran­cona en­shrined in Coop­er­stown. Oth­ers have the same opin­ion.

“If Fran­cona had won the World Se­ries with Cleve­land (in 2016), there would have been no doubt,” Will Leitch of Sport­sonEarth.com wrote last year, “All told, there prob­a­bly isn’t much doubt any­way: Win­ning a World Se­ries with the Red Sox (2004) af­ter decades of fall­ing short — not to men­tion win­ning an­other one three years later — should be enough for him.”

Browns grounded

The Browns run­ning at­tack in the pre­sea­son opener was ane­mic. They rushed for 50 yards on 33 car­ries (1.5yard av­er­age). The long­est run of the night was seven yards by Matthew Dayes. Dayes and rookie quar­ter­back Baker May­field com­bined for the team rush­ing lead with 13 yards.

Nick Chubb’s in­tro­duc­tion to the NFL was 15 car­ries for 11 yards — not ex­actly what gen­eral man­ager John Dorsey en­vi­sioned when he used the 35th over­all pick in the April draft on the run­ning back from Ge­or­gia.

A big part of the prob­lem was the start­ing of­fen­sive line blocked for only two run­ning plays — a 1-yard loss by Car­los Hyde on the first se­ries and a 3-yard gain by Duke John­son on the sec­ond se­ries.

Chubb played be­hind a line that con­sisted of Greg Robin­son at left tackle, Austin Corbett (a pro­jected starter) at left guard, Austin Reiter at cen­ter, Spencer Drango at right guard and Shon Cole­man at right tackle most of the time Chubb was in the game.

Corbett is likely the only one of the five Chubb, Hyde and John­son will be run­ning be­hind when the games start to count.

The of­fen­sive line is typ­i­cally the most durable unit on any team, but the game with the Giants, as well as train­ing camp, ex­posed the Browns are thin on tal­ent be­hind the start­ing of­fen­sive line.

• Free agent wide re­ceiver Dez Bryant will visit the Browns on Aug. 16, ac­cord­ing to Ian Rapoport of NFL Net­work. Con­ve­niently for the Browns, there is no me­dia ac­cess that day be­cause they host the Buf­falo Bills a night later in the sec­ond pre­sea­son game.

Bryant, a free agent since April when he was re­leased by the Cow­boys, tweeted on Aug. 9 he plans to be­gin his vis­its the week of Aug. 13. There is a chance he might sign with an­other team if he doesn’t make it to Berea be­fore Aug. 16, but he did tweet specif­i­cally: “Start­ing my vis­its next week...I’m com­ing to the Land to see you, Mr. Dorsey.”

Maybe the idea of Bryant vis­it­ing later in the week would in­spire Josh Gor­don to get into camp. Gor­don is cur­rently work­ing out on his own as part of his treat­ment plan to deal with so­bri­ety.

A re­ceiv­ing corps of Jarvis Landry, Bryant, Gor­don, An­to­nio Call­away and Rashard Hig­gins would be one of the best in the NFL.

• It’s no se­cret the Browns were dis­ap­pointed by wide re­ceiver Corey Cole­man. Nor is it a se­cret the Dal­las na­tive did not like the cold weather he ex­pe­ri­enced in Cleve­land.

Of all the teams Dorsey might have traded Cole­man to, he shipped Cole­man to Buf­falo. Cole­man will need an even wider snow shovel this com­ing De­cem­ber.

Dis­mal Cavs fore­cast

Bleacher Re­port has come out with its team-by-team pre­dic­tions for the NBA, and it isn’t one Cava­liers fans will want to read — 30-52 af­ter fin­ish­ing 50-32 a year ago.

The Hawks, Nets, Bulls, Knicks, Hor­nets, Suns and Magic will be worse, if the pre­dic­tions come true.

“The bot­tom won’t drop out on the Cavs like it did the last time LeBron James left, but they’re still look­ing at a deep dive down the stand­ings,” the re­port reads. “Kevin Love will be a fea­tured op­tion for the first time in five sea­sons, a role he’s never filled for a win­ner. Rookie Collin Sex­ton, who turns 20 in Jan­uary, means enough to this fran­chise’s fate he’ll prob­a­bly be­come a starter soon. The rest of Cleve­land’s ros­ter is largely com­prised of veter­ans brought in to com­ple­ment James or still-de­vel­op­ing young­sters with fairly low ceil­ings.”

I didn’t know that

... Un­til I read my Snap­ple bot­tle cap

Antarc­tica is the largest desert in the world . ... There are more tigers owned by Amer­i­cans than there are in the world . ... Mos­qui­toes pre­fer to bite peo­ple with typeO blood . ... Movie trail­ers used to be shown at the con­clu­sion of movies, but few peo­ple stayed to watch them. ... The British pound is the world’s old­est cur­rency still in use.

TONY DEJAK — AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

In­di­ans man­ager Terry Fran­cona con­grat­u­lates Yon­der Alonso af­ter Alonso hit a solo home run in the sec­ond in­ning against the Twins on Aug. 9.

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