BOSTON -- There was something a little surreal about Terry Francona standing in a hotel's function room on Thursday and autographing his new book for Pedro Martinez.
Whereas Martinez officially returned to the Red Sox on Thursday as a special assistant to the general manager, Francona -– now the manager of the Indians -- was in town as a guest. The man who won two World Series championships in his eight years as manager of the Red Sox was back in town to receive the Judge Emil Fuchs Award, a Boston Baseball Writers award presented for long and meritorious service to the game.
The timing of Francona's visit coincided with the release of his much-discussed book, which he co-authored with Dan Shaughnessy. In parts of the book, Francona is candid about his feelings about Red Sox owners John Henry, Larry Lucchino and Tom Werner.
"It wasn't meant to be a slam against the owners," said Francona. "I've heard a lot of that. I've gotten a lot of questions, so probably [it was perceived like that]. It was meant to be a [chronicle] of the eight years. I knew at some point we'd have to deal with the end, because it was public. I'm sure some of my feelings showed I was disappointed."
Francona hasn't heard from the owners since the book came out, and wasn't sure if he would bump into them at Thursday's Boston Baseball Writers Dinner. What will Francona say if he bumps into Henry?
"I really haven't talked to him, so probably not much," he said. "I'm disappointed in that. That was part of my disappointment. I'm sure that probably showed through a little bit [in the book]. I was disappointed [Henry didn't return calls]."
Francona remains upset about a Boston Globe article that painted him as having an addiction to painkillers toward the end of his time with the Red Sox, and he wants the owners to get to the bottom of who would have leaked such information.
"I wanted them to care more about me than maybe people were accusing them of saying," he said. "It's like, I probably cared more about that than actually who said it [in the Boston Globe]. I wanted them to reach out. After being somewhere for eight years, that meant something to me, so I was really disappointed."
Even so, Francona was in a good mood during his availability with the media.
When he spotted his close friend and new Red Sox manager John Farrell, Francona sidled up to him and quipped, "I think your owners [stink]."
The room broke into laughter, and Francona made it clear that he was kidding.
During Francona's time as the manager of the Red Sox, he never missed the annual writers' dinner, but this experience was different.
"I'm kind of excited," he said. "It's been hectic. I [didn't] know what to expect tonight, to be honest. I always needed to be here [in the past]. Tonight I'm a guest. ... I'm excited to see some people."
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne.