Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Francona and Mills is one of baseball's great love stories

WEEI's Alex Speier talked to Mills and Francona's coach at Arizona, Jerry Kindall, about Brad Mills' new job, continuing to do a better job at covering the hiring of Brad Mills than the Houston media (save for McTaggart):

“I think it was inevitable in my mind [that Mills became a manager]. When he was here at the university, Brad was so serious about the intricacies of baseball. He would make notes on practice plans. During the game, he kept a book on all the pitchers we faced. He was so alert to absorb everything that he could. He wanted to be a coach.

I hoped that someday we could put him on our staff here at the University of Arizona. We would discuss him in the coaches meetings: ‘Maybe we should bring him in here with us and listen to him.’ We were half-joking — just half-joking. We could have used his counsel at the time.

"It’s a little more surprising that Terry has ascended to be one of the top managers. In college, he was so happy-go-lucky. He was such a fun guy. He played hard all the time, but he was a practical joker and had that wry sense of humor. He’s very self-effacing. He doesn’t seek the limelight or center stage. He’s just a genuine guy.

As a college player and student, he was just one of the fun guys to be around. He was very dependable but also enjoyed everything so much that I didn’t know if he could get serious enough to be a manager. He sure did — he sure has.”

What about the progression of Francona/Mills' relationship?
“They gravitated together right away. They hung around with each other, rather than partying with some other folks like they might have.

“I think the two of them have rubbed off on one another. I can’t say one more than the other. But they have filled each others’ weaknesses to make a combination or duo of great strengths. The two of them helped each other in such a way that it was really a blessing to watch them develop as individuals, as ballplayers, as students and as husbands. They strengthened one another. In Boston, they’ve been complementing one another very, very well.”

The journey of the two of them, it’s a great story — starting way back in 1978. I got to see that develop. I am so privileged. They really are so genuine, so real,” Kindall said. “This is the great culmination of two guys working together to become leaders — to lead ballclubs.”