LEXINGTON, Ky. — Forget the World Series and what he’s done to revive the Boston Red Sox and now the Cleveland Indians, Terry Francona’s true ability comes off the field and onto the hardwood.
Kentucky coach John Calipari called the Indians skipper ‘a heck of a basketball player,’ during his press conference Thursday afternoon. Calipari shared a story about the former 6-foot-3 shooting guard from Pennsylvania’s New Brighton High School.
“Really could play,” Calipari said. “So when I saw him in Boston, I didn’t get to see him on this trip. But when I saw him in Boston, I had a couple of my friends and I said, ‘I’m gonna tell you how good of a basketball player he was. (Francona) said, ‘Stop right there.’ He got all of his assistants, all of his coaches, to come in a room. ‘Alright, say it now.’ I told them how good he was and they were like, ‘Ah, you’re killing us. He’s been telling us how good he was as a basketball player. Ah we don’t want to hear it.’ But he really was a good basketball player.”
Calipari had a nice seat to watch Game 2 of the World Series in Cleveland. His only complaint was the temperature.
“It was cold,” Calipari said of the game. “So everybody, you don’t know who I’m a fan of, but they saw me in a sweatshirt. Why did I have that sweatshirt on? Cause I was freezing and bought a sweatshirt and put it on. And you won’t believe this: In Cleveland, they sold no Cubs stuff. I couldn’t understand it.”
Calipari’s Wildcats get underway Nov. 11 while Francona’s Indians are searching for their first World Series since 1948.
“And how bout this, he does this in Boston and now Cleveland,” Calipari said of Francona. “I mean, come on now. It shows. And the greatest guy. I mean, literally. If you met him, you’d say, what a neat guy this is. I’m happy for him. Like the Cubs. I mean they were good last night now.”