"We want you to wait and think about it," said Lucchino. "Take the weekend. Sleep on it. See how you feel."
"We had not come to any conclusion about whether to move forward with Terry or not," Werner insisted. "I thought we needed to have a conversation with [Francona] about what went on in September and how it happened and how we were going to move forward in the future. It was at that meeting that he said that he had lost control of the clubhouse ... that he was not the right person to continue as manager. I had kept a very open mind about what to do going forward and was hopeful that he would be not only specific about the problems but how to correct them. He said, 'I'm not the guy to move forward with you.'"
"I never said I lost control of the clubhouse," countered Francona. "I said I hadn't been able to reach some of the guys. I was just trying to take accountability. But I kind of viewed that meeting as a charade."
A few hours after the meeting ended, the manager's cellphone rang. It was Epstein. "I talked to them after you left," said the G.M. "It's pretty clear that the decision has been made."
At 5:19 p.m., the Red Sox released a highly nuanced statement to the press—the word fired was never used—announcing that Francona would not return as manager. The release included expansive statements from the ownership trio of Henry, Werner and Lucchino, plus Epstein and Francona. Press conferences with Francona and team management were scheduled for that evening—though Henry would not attend; that afternoon he had been injured in a fall on his yacht and transported via ambulance to Massachusetts General Hospital. The next morning Henry's wife, Linda Pizzuti, tweeted, "Happy John is home! He slipped down stairs, injuring his neck. Kept at hospital as a precaution, but was home for the derby."
The owner, who'd been unable to attend the press conference announcing the firing of the manager who brought two World Series titles to Boston, made it home in time to watch Liverpool beat Everton 2--0 in the Merseyside derby.
On Oct. 21, Epstein officially resigned from the Red Sox. "In a way, I'll never recover from September," he said in 2012. "For us to lose not only our competitiveness and our place in the standings, but also our identity as a team was painful to watch. I'll never really ever get over that.... As the dynamic shifted and the Red Sox became too big, it became less fun for everybody. It was time to move on for both of us."
"When people ask me if I left the Red Sox on my own or if I was fired, I don't even know how to answer that," Francona said later. "I tried my ass off to help put the team in position to win, and I worked my ass off that last year more than ever.
"Our owners in Boston, they've been owners for 10 years. They come in with all these ideas about baseball, but I don't think they love baseball. I think they like baseball. It's revenue, and I know that's their right and their interest because they're owners—and they're good owners. But they don't love the game. It's still more of a toy or a hobby for them. It's not their blood. They're going to come in and out of baseball. It's different for me. Baseball is my life."