It turns out Trevor Bauer’s bloody pinkie wasn’t the only crisis weighing on Terry Francona during Game 3 on the American League Championship Series on Monday night. As the Cleveland Indians manager revealed before Game 4 on Tuesday, it was actually a distant second to the bizarre crisis he was going through.
Brace yourself for this one folks: Only moments before the game began, Francona had a tooth veneer pop clean out of his mouth while he was chewing tobacco in the dugout. Naturally, he couldn’t get it fixed then and there, so he fished the tooth out of his tobacco wad, handed it to the team’s head athletic trainer and anxiously awaited word on when he could visit a local dentist.
Here’s the full story, as transcribed by the Cleveland Plain-Dealer’s Zack Meisel:
“Right before the game, I mean, like literally, my lower tooth, the veneer popped out while I was chewing. That thing came off and I’m chewing and it felt crunchy. I was like, ‘Uh oh.’
“So, I undid my tobacco and there’s my tooth. So, I’m [ticked] now. I’m [really] hot. I called [head athletic trainer] James [Quinlan] down and I gave him my tooth and I said, ‘You call [the team dentist] and tell him I’m going to [rough him up].’ And I said, ‘Tell him he better find me a [expletive] dentist up here tomorrow.’
In the meantime, Trevor Bauer’s stitches popped during the first inning, meaning Francona was in full-fledged manager mode right off the bat. What followed was a managerial clinic that helped Cleveland earn a 3-0 lead in the series. But make no mistake, Francona’s tooth was still his top priority.
“So then James comes back in, like, the third inning and I said, ‘Tell me you found a dentist.’ He goes, ‘I came to tell you about Trevor.’ I go, ‘[Screw] Trevor!’
Eventually, the update he was looking for came. Instead of going back to the hotel with his team following the game, Francona went straight to a dentist office at 1 a.m. for a little maintenance work.
“They found me a dentist last night. I went from [Rogers Centre] to a dentist last night at 1 o’clock in the morning. Some dentist met me downtown and [expletive] put it back in. How about that? That’s unbelievable. I’m good to go. [Heck] yeah, I’m good to go.
“It didn’t feel good when that tobacco hit that root during the game. I was so conscious of it. I kept [tonguing at it]. I was so mad. [The dentist] was in the training room the other day and he goes, ‘Hey, how are the teeth doing?’ He goes, ‘They’re [expletive] invincible.’ [scoffs] There’s not much there, man. It’s not real good looking.”
For those of us assuming Bauer’s finger would be the most cringeworthy story of the postseason, Francona’s tale changed our minds real quick. Even though it’s presented in a light-hearted manner, it’s also a pretty good reminder of the effects chewing tobacco can have and why it’s a not a good habit to pick up. The next pleasant or inspiring story involving chewing tobacco will be the first, so please don’t follow in Terry Francona’s footsteps.
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