Terry Francona won’t manage in 2012

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Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com spoke with Terry Francona, who says that he will not seek to manage in 2012 “for my benefit.”

Francona interviewed with the Cardinals and said he would have liked that job, but they went with Mike Matheny. He says he’s been in contact with Theo Epstein in Chicago, but says it’s not the right opportunity. As such, he’s preemptively bowing out of any other jobs should they become vacant.

I think it’s probably a good call by Francona because (a) everyone could use a break and (b) I think Francona was pretty awesome on TV in the playoffs and would love to see more of him.  But one wonders how much of a choice this really was.

I mean, if you’re Theo Epstein, and you don’t really want to hire Francona, don’t you maybe suggest to him — out of courtesy — to make such an announcement before you hire, say, Mike Maddux?  So no one could write the “Epstein snubs Tito, goes with Maddux” stories?

Fine. Call me a conspiracy theorist. I don’t care.  Whatever the case, enjoy the year off, Terry.

It looks like Bryce Harper cheated in the Home Run Derby

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I just saw Jay Jaffe of FanGraphs refer to this as “BryceGhazi” and we’re not gonna top that, so we shouldn’t even try.

The controversy: Bryce Harper, in defeating Kyle Schwarber in the Home Run Derby last night, didn’t follow the rules. Or else his dad, who was pitching to him didn’t. The rule in question is that the pitcher has to wait for the last hit ball to land before delivering the next one. Given that the Derby is a timed event, such a thing matters, of course, because the faster you get pitches the faster you can hit them out of the park. At least if you don’t get too tired first.

Harper’s dad was a bit quick with the final three pitches in the final round, allowing Harper to get to 18, tying Kyle Schwarber before winning it outright with his 30 seconds bonus time. Watch as Harper waves for his dad to deliver the pitch while the last ball is still flying:

I’m not gonna argue that he didn’t do it. I will say, however, that no one should really care. Mostly because it’s the Home Run Derby and it doesn’t matter a bit. Getting mad about this is a half-step removed from getting mad that Blackjack Mulligan used a foreign object to gouge Pedro Morales’ eyes during a house show in 1976. Yes, it’s true, but c’mon, we’re entertaining people here.

I have not seen any suggestion that Kyle Schwarber is upset, but if he later says he is I’ll simultaneously understand yet still roll my eyes. I doubt MLB will do anything here or issue a statement of any kind. If it does, I’ll roll my eyes harder. Because, I repeat: It’s the Home Run Derby.