Even after all these years, Terry Francona gets nervous before delivering the first speech of spring training to his players.
This season, it came with a price for Cleveland’s manager.
Francona broke a tooth while preparing to speak to the Guardians in Goodyear, Arizona. Because he wanted to work on his remarks, Francona skipped dinner with his staff on Monday night to prepare. He made some pasta, but it was undercooked.
“It was frozen at the bottom and I broke part of my tooth,” he said Tuesday following his speech. “At first I didn’t think I did. Then I started chewing and said, ‘That tastes awful.’ Not only did I swallow the tooth, I chewed it.”
Then, when he arrived at the team’s facility, Francona spilled coffee over his speech.
The hiccups aside, Francona, who is entering his 11th season with Cleveland, felt good about it afterward.
“I felt like I said what I wanted to say,” he said. “That’s the goal. I don’t want to just talk. Everybody has meetings. I want to help.”