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Friendly fire…

02.28.09 at 4:27 pm ET

Fort Myers, Fla. – As Terry Francona was hitting fungos to his infielders prior to Saturday’s game with the Reds, a voice boomed out, “That’s the swing that resulted in a .210 batting average.”

That voice belongs to the one and only Marty Brennaman.

The Cincinnati Hall of Fame broadcaster and Francona share a unique and special friendship.

A little background. Last year, during spring training, when Francona signed his contract extension with the Red Sox, one of the first calls he got was from Brennaman. On the surface, the message Brennaman left on Francona’s voicemail was hardly a congratulatory message. Rather, it was an obscenity-laced tirade directed at the manager while questioning the wisdom of Red Sox management.

Francona proudly played it for all of us in the media the next day.

So he was prepared for today. “Yeah, we exchanged texts last night so I’m ready,” Francona said Saturday morning.

Francona and Brennaman go back to 1987 when Tito played in Cincinnati and, for the record, batted .227. One of Francona’s teammates on that 1987 team had one of the greatest seasons in the history of the legendary franchise. Eric Davis had 37 homers, 100 RBIs and stole 50 bases. ‘Eric the Red’ batted .293 for the N.L. West runners up. Davis is now a member of their major league staff.

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