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Francona: Mauer deal is ‘really good for the game’

03.22.10 at 10:57 am ET

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Terry Francona understands the knee-jerk reaction to a baseball player getting $184 million over the next eight years. He knows some fans are just going to assume another big-market team is scooping up the best available talent in the game.

But this time it’s Joe Mauer and this time it’s his hometown team that’s doing the scooping – the relatively small-market Minnesota Twins.

“I think it’s really good for the game,” Francona offered on Monday morning, hours before Mauer’s scheduled press conference across town at Hammond Stadium.

The Red Sox manager, like every baseball fan, has heard the theory that baseball’s growing problem of mega-contracts is destroying balance in the game. He then offered perspective.

“Unless you have a way to fix it, it’s easy just to have comments, ‘Well, this is wrong, this is wrong,’ and because we’re not the NFL where [they] have that national TV package, I don’t know a way to fix it, I just don’t,” Francona said.

[Click here to hear Francona’s thoughts on the Joe Mauer deal.]

“I guess I hope people that are smarter than me come up with ways. There is a big difference. I understand that. I used to care more when I was with the Phillies.”

Ah, those days with the Phillies. Francona remembers those years between 1997-2000 when a team in a big market like Philadelphia acted more like a small market because of the lack of big names and big-time success.

Of course, while Boston is a big town, Red Sox Nation has evolved into the most baseball-intense market in the country.

“We are the Red Sox,” Francona said. “I don’t know if it’s fair. I think that our ownership and our city, they’ve created a big market. We’re a big-market team. I don’t know that we are one of the biggest. I know there are differences when you hear people argue about it.

“Minnesota’s got their new stadium and it looks like they’re going to get after it a little bit. I think that’s good.”

Read More: joe mauer, MLB, Red Sox, Terry Francona
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