BALTIMORE -- Even as he endures what is easily his toughest regular-season stretch as manager of the Red Sox, Terry Francona continues to keep an even keel.
"I've got to be true to myself and what I believe in," Francona said. "It doesn't mean people necessarily agree with it. That's part of what's fun about baseball. But if I come in and overthrow the spread table, that's not me. The players know that. Sure they do. I feel like I feel. If we're going to struggle, I want to go through it with these players. I don't want to start pointing fingers. I do want them to know I'm going through this with them. That's how I feel. I've always felt that way."
Part of what Francona believes in most is tuning out external distractions and perceptions.
One reporter asked him what his interactions have been like with fans at the coffee shop.
"Well, I didn't go to the coffee shop," Francona said. "I didn't read the paper. I don't know. I don't care. I really don't [care]. What I care about is how we handle it. Whether you guys are writing that we're the second coming of sliced bread or we stink, that shouldn't enter into how we play. If it does, shame on us."
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.