BOSTON -- Considering all of his accomplishments in baseball, it was somewhat surprising to hear just how honored Terry Francona felt when Red Sox manager John Farrell invited him to be on his coaching staff at the All-Star Game in Minneapolis on July 15.
"That was actually one of the most special things that's ever happened to me in this game -- and I've been blessed to have a lot of good things happen," said Francona prior to Thursday's Red Sox-Indians game at Fenway. "I hadn't thought of it, and when he hit with me it, I was shocked, but it took me about 10 seconds to say yes. I was tremendously honored."
After winning the World Series with the Red Sox in 2004 and '07, Francona got to manage the All-Star Game in Detroit in '05 and another one at Yankee Stadium in '08.
This time, he's eager to be able to soak in the experience.
"I've been fortunate enough to manage two of them. As a manager, you don't see much of the game," Francona said. "It's going fast and you're trying to accomplish a lot of things and you're getting pulled in 90 different directions. As much fun as it is for the reason why you're managing, to go as a coach and be able to take it in, I really look forward to it."
Though they are now opponents, the relationship between Farrell and Francona -- which started when they were teammates with the Indians in 1988 -- remains strong.
"Tito will always be a good friend, so regardless whether it's playing here in Boston or in Cleveland, there's always other conversations that goes on outside the game," said Farrell. "They're playing well, and yet we've got to get our own house in order to get back on track."
This visit back to Boston was far more routine for Francona than last year, when he was filled with emotion in his return to the city he managed in for eight years.
Francona had no issue whatsoever with the Red Sox holding their 2004 team reunion on May 28, instead of waiting for the Indians to come to Fenway.
"No, I didn't think they needed to do that. I don't think it's appropriate," Francona said. "There's so much that goes into events as anybody that's been here knows. They do those things really well. From what I understand, it was a really nice event. I think the players are first and foremost. From all accounts, they did a wonderful job, so I thought it was great."
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.