A reader, whom we'll call Rob, emailed us Monday night with the photo you see above. The photo came with this message:
Looks like Terry francona is not too smart. Sending this picture to my 27 year old girlfriend isn't a smart move. Big job like his, he seems to trust a lot of people. Not sure how this picture would turn any girl on but good luck to him and his 53 year body.
Francona didn't need the luck, as Rob would soon learn.
Rob said the photo had been emailed to his girlfriend Friday night, with no additional message. Rob sent us a screen grab. The sender's name was Terry Francona, and we confirmed through a baseball source that the sender's address does, in fact, belong to Terry Francona, the former Red Sox manager. (It's an AOL account, naturally.) Francona is 53 years old, and he's separated from his wife. He is certainly free to chase women (or share his vacation photos with them). Rob would just prefer that Francona chase (or share his vacation photos with) someone other than Rob's girlfriend.
Rob knew that his girlfriend, who lives in Tuscon, Ariz., had recently met Francona, a former University of Arizona ballplayer. After he sent us the towel photo, Rob wrote back to say he discovered that she had also exchanged a number of text messages with Francona: "I just saw phone records of them going back and forth. No content."
He knew the number was Francona's because he called it; he said the voice on the outgoing message was unmistakably Francona's. We tried the number, and it certainly did sound like Francona.
Rob wrote that he had "no idea" what this was adding up to. "Lots of texts and that pic. Can only mean he's trying to get with her."
He sent us an open letter to Terry Francona, which read as follows:
I was wondering why you would be flirting with my girlfriend, who is over 20 years younger than you, by sending pictures of yourself half-naked in a towel? Isn't one of your own children the same age as my girlfriend?
Next time you decide to do this, make sure the girl doesnt have a boyfriend. You would think that you would be more careful since you work for ESPN. I hope more girls come out saying you sent them the same stuff. You could be the next Tiger Woods. Scumbag.
As of Tuesday evening, we were all set to publish a post this morning about Francona emailing photos of himself half-naked in a towel to somebody's girlfriend. But then Rob sent us another email, and our heart ached for him a little.
So it looks like i found a picture she sent him first at 607pm on the 25th which is why he sent her a pic.
This is that pic (sent to a Gmail address for a "tj francona"):
"I'm so pissed," Rob said. He has yet to confront his girlfriend about any of this. Moral: Never underestimate the 53-year-old body, especially when it's attached to a successful rich guy.