Today's giveaway is "Red Sox Rule: Terry Francona and Boston's Rise to Dominance," by Michael Holley, and it's a really nice read. Francona cooperated extensively, so the book comes off partly as a biography of Francona - somewhat interesting - and partly an inside look at the Red Sox of the last few years - extremely interesting.
The focus is on the 2007 season, when Francona granted the access, and my favorite scene comes from July 31 of that year. With just a few hours remaining before the 4 p.m. EDT trade deadline, the Red Sox wanted to acquire Eric Gagne not to setup for Jonathan Papelbon, as ultimately occurred, but to close, with Papelbon setting up for Gagne.
So Francona (in full Red Sox uniform), Red Sox GM Theo Epstein, pitching coach John Farrell and bullpen coach Gary Tuck hopped into a car and drove a few miles to Papelbon's apartment, to discuss the situation with him. Papelbon had a bunch of people in his apartment, however - you know how pro athletes can be - so he and the four team officials went down to the boiler room of Papelbon's buliding.
There, Papelbon made it clear he did not want to set up for Gagne. So the Red Sox reached out to Gagne through agent Scott Boras, and Gagne agreed to waive his no-trade clause in return for a few bucks to come to Boston.
Of course, Gagne turned out to be a massive flop. But if you like that kind of info, then you'll like this book.
And I'll give my copy of the book to the first person who e-mails me correctly - at firstname.lastname@example.org - with the correct answer to this question:
In Francona's playing career, he served as a teammate of five other current big-league managers. Name those five men.
Given what I think is the degree of difficulty on this question, I'll provide an hour-long window here, starting at 2:00 EDT. If no one comes up with all five by 3:00, then at that juncture, I'll give the book to the person who has the most correct names.
UPDATE, 2:10 p.m. Not for the first time, I have underestimated the readership. We have a winner! Jamie F. knew that Francona played with Mets manager Jerry Manuel (1981 Expos), Houston manager Brad Mills (1981-82 Expos), Kansas City manager Ned Yost (1985 Expos), Texas manager Ron Washington (1988 Indians) and San Diego manager Bud Black (1988 Indians).
Meanwhile, in other news, Fred Wilpon endorsed Omar Minaya today, indicating that Minaya would return as the Mets' general manager in 2011. Very interesting, but I say we wait until the end of the season until we consider that news to be official.