Cleveland Cavaliers head coach JB Bickerstaff revealed he contacted Cleveland Guardians manager Terry Francona before the Cavs take on the New York Knicks in the opening round of the NBA playoffs on Saturday, Cleveland.com Cavs reporter Chris Fedor wrote in a Sunday article.
“He and I were texting yesterday,” JB Bickerstaff said Sunday, via Fedor. “I reached out to him to just see if I could pick his brain on some things. He’s been open. He’s always reached out and shown support.”
A former manager for the Philadelphia Phillies and Boston Red Sox, Terry Francona compiled a record of 1,881-1,590 in a managerial career that stretches back to 1997, according to Baseball Reference. He helped guide the Red Sox to two World Series wins in 2004 and 2007 before managing a Cleveland team that won the American League Pennant in 2016.
Terry Francona has managed the Guardians for the past 11 seasons, garnering 852 wins during his tenure in Cleveland. The Guardians went 92-70 in 2022, winning the AL Wild Card series over the Tampa Bay Rays before pushing the New York Yankees to five games in the Division Series.
Bickerstaff said he found similarities in the youth of the Cavs and the Terry Francona Guardians.
“I do think there are similarities with the youth of our teams, but there’s like a charisma or a pizzazz that engaged the fan base with both of our teams, whether it’s individual personalities or how they play as a team that I think our fan base really respects and appreciates,” Bickerstaff said. “I do think there is that scrappiness that both of our teams have. Some similarities for sure.”
The Guardians’ roster featured batters with an average age of 26.1 years old and pitchers with an average of 26.5 in 2022, according to Front Office Sports. The Cavs most-used starting five, a lineup that saw a record of 20-9 in the 2022-23 regular season, sported a 22-year-old Isaac Okoro, a 21-year-old Evan Mobley and a 23-year-old Darius Garland.