CLEVELAND: Terry Francona was dreaming out loud. The Indians’ manager felt physically isolated from his players, because his office is halfway down a hallway in the clubhouse complex, separated from the locker room by a cement-block wall.
It’s not like Francona had to take a taxi to find the players, but he had to walk 60 feet to the right or cross the hallway and take a shortcut through the shower room to visit the locker room.
“I just made a comment to Chris [General Manager Chris Antonetti] that it would be nice to have a window in my office,” Francona said. “The only time I see the players if I’m in my office is when they’re going to the food room or the trainer’s room, and there’s another way to get to the trainer’s room.
“I just brought it up, and a week later, there’s a window in my office. It’s just another example of how well the people here have treated me.”
So instead of a solid wall and only a small window in the door to Francona’s office, a window, about 3 feet by 7 feet, was cut out of the cement block while the Tribe was on its most recent trip, enabling the manager to see anyone who walks down the hallway.
If Francona needs more privacy, he can draw the blinds.
“I don’t want to be by myself,” Francona said. “I want to be near the players, the coaches, the trainers. I love it now. Guys come by and maybe only make some smart-aleck gesture, but that’s fine.”
If Francona wants to be with the players constantly, why doesn’t he hang out in the clubhouse? Part of baseball custom and ritual is that the locker room belongs to the players, which doesn’t mean the manager should stay out.
“I think it’s everybody’s place,” Francona said. “But I know what you mean. They start seeing the manager all the time and they go, ‘Oh, oh,’ or ‘Is he in here again?’ You want them to have their place, to have a place to vent.”
Sheldon Ocker can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.