Before final home game, Francona reminisces about his beloved scooter

September 28th, 2023

CLEVELAND -- All good things must come to an end. And no, this time we’re not talking about Guardians manager Terry Francona’s Hall-of-Fame-worthy career. We’re talking about his “Hog.”

Francona can be seen traveling on his scooter -- which he affectionately refers to as his “Hog” -- from Progressive Field to his apartment two blocks away all throughout the baseball season. Because it’s been so popular, it’s been stolen on a handful of occasions, but it’s always returned in decent shape.

This time, the story didn’t have a happy ending.

In Francona’s final days in Cleveland, his scooter was stolen. It was beaten with a baseball bat, stripped of its parts and was eventually found and returned to the 64-year-old skipper. But when Francona got a closer look, he wished that’s all the thieves had done to it.

“The worst part was they defecated on it,” Francona said prior to Cleveland's 4-3 win against Cincinnati on Wednesday night.

This happened last week. Since then, Francona joked he’s been in mourning at the loss of his beloved scooter that he’s ridden to and from the ballpark for years.

“I've got it in the clubhouse under a blanket,” Francona said with a smirk.

Now that his "Hog" has been laid to rest, Francona has had to get a little creative to get himself back to his downtown abode. He described a new, more unstable scooter that he’s been using to get him through the end of the season.

“It’s hard because I hate to be rude,” Francona said. “People yell [and] I can’t take my hand off [the handlebar] to wave. I know people are like, ‘Oh, he thinks he’s hot [stuff].’ I just can’t do it.”

Francona had to learn the hard way that these scooters are much more difficult for him to navigate.

He was heading back to his apartment recently, bringing dinner home to eat. He was riding on this new scooter down East Fourth Street and saw a group of men walking toward him. He thought it’d be courteous to get to the side of the walkway to leave them room to get by. What he didn’t notice was a brick in the ground was missing in the path he chose, sending him over his handlebar.

“It’s amazing how much you can see of your life in that moment,” Francona said. “And I hit hard, man.”

The Guardians manager was laying on the ground on East Fourth Street with his flip flops thrown in opposite directions. His dinner was scattered across the pavement and one of the men who was walking toward him hustled over to help.

“Coach! Coach!” the man yelled.

“I was like, ‘No, it’s not me!’” Francona quipped.

The man approached Francona and asked if he was OK. Francona responded in his typical manner:

“I said, ‘See if my dinner’s OK,’” he recalled.

After his usual jokes to disarm any situation, Francona found his way back to his feet and got upstairs to his apartment, hoping that somehow this wouldn’t become news. But his self-deprecating ways prompted him to be the one who brought it to the attention of the media a week later, giving us all one last comical Francona story to enjoy.

Oh, and what about his dinner that flung onto the pavement in the scooter accident?

“I scraped up whatever was left,” Francona said with a laugh. “But I knew when those guys were there, I was like, 'this ain’t going to be a secret.'”