Torre also returns to Fenway Park

Torre also returns to Fenway Park

BOSTON -- While Manny Ramirez's return to Fenway Park will be the dominant theme of this weekend's Red Sox-Dodgers series, Joe Torre will also be back in Boston for the first time since 2007, when he was managing the Yankees.

Torre is in the midst of his third season as manager of the Dodgers. As fierce as the Boston-New York rivalry was, Red Sox fans always seemed to have a healthy amount of respect for Torre, who always carried himself with class.

When Torre returned to the dugout following his bout with prostate cancer in 1999, his first game back was at Fenway Park, and he got a huge ovation from the crowd.

Red Sox manager Terry Francona considers Torre a friend. It will be easier for the managers to be public about their friendship now that they aren't going against each other in perhaps the most heated rivalry in sports.

"I love Joe," Francona said. "I hope we beat his brains out. It's a little different now. Because he's not in New York, it's a little bit easier to say hello to somebody like that. People don't want to see that when you play the Yankees, so you stay away -- at least in public. And he did the same thing. I've got a lot of respect for Joe, though."

Ian Browne is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.