Beloved Guardians Manager Francona Bids Adieu Amid Stolen Scooter Drama

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On the night of the home season finale, Terry Francona, the esteemed manager, graced the field of the Guardians for the last time before his forthcoming retirement. However, his treasured scooter, a constant companion, was noticeably missing.

The day was filled with appreciative salutes from Cleveland fans, bidding adieu to their beloved manager after an 11-year journey filled with triumphs and tribulations. In an unexpected twist, Francona revealed that his much-loved scooter that accompanied him to Progressive Field for many seasons, had been stolen — for the second time.

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“My ride, the hog, is officially on ice,” Francona quipped in his usual humor during the Wednesday night game against the Cincinnati Reds, “It seems the thieves didn’t just steal it this time, they stripped it down too.”

Francona informed that the thief had struck about a week and a half ago. Although the scooter had been stolen once before in January, the Cleveland Police had managed to recover it back then. But this time, the scooter was left in a wrecked state. Engulfed in a blanket within the clubhouse, it bore the marks of what looked like a baseball bat assault.

Francona, who is 64, recently switched to an electric scooter, an experience he found to be vastly different. While a pothole mishap on a cobblestone street caused a minor accident, the ride was solemnly lackluster, amplifying the absence of his stolen companion.

The final game on his home turf in 2023 fostered a bittersweet atmosphere. The separation was particularly hard for the Guardians and their loyal fans, as they prepared to bid farewell to the longest-serving and most successful manager in the club’s 123 years of existence.

While Francona’s official retirement announcement remains due, it is widely expected to occur early next week. His departure will leave a gaping hole in the world of baseball.

Reds manager, David Bell, noted the significance of Francona’s departure, “Just being here on his last home game means so much. Everyone who has ever worked with Tito adores him. This moment is undoubtedly emotional.”

Francona received a warm send-off with 20,000 red “Thank You Tito” T-shirts being distributed despite his initial refusal for any grand farewell celebration. As a bright tribute video played on the screen, capturing the essence of his long-standing relationship with the franchise, Francona tipped his cap to the cheering crowd, triggering an immense wave of applause.

The club’s much-loved manager admitted to feeling more “uncomfortable” rather than emotional as he bid goodbye to Cleveland. However, his joy remained rooted in his daily work and the companions who shared his journey.

Francona, whose career wins place him 13th on the all-time list, has been battling severe health issues and sees retirement as an opportunity to seek a healthier path. “I need to get my body patched up again for about the 80th time. It’s time to step aside and try to get healthy without rushing.”

Francona’s managerial prowess set him apart, his ability to extract the best from his team while maintaining a tight-knit camaraderie earned him widespread respect. “From a player’s standpoint, I would love to play for Tito. Getting the most out of players while being well-liked by everyone, that’s the hallmark of his incredible career,” Bell stated.

Despite using modest payrolls, Francona’s team was always in the thick of the playoff hunt. He led the team to the brink of winning their first World Series in 68 years in 2016. Looking back on his illustrious career, which started in Philadelphia in 1997, Francona highlighted the people he worked with as the aspect he’d miss the most.

And, of course, his short ride home on the scooter. “It was the greatest setup ever,” he added with a smile. “I’ll miss the police high-fiving after games, encouraging me. It’s been a blessing.” As the evening came to a close, everyone reflected on the legendary career of a beloved manager, already feeling the absence of his scooter riding ways.