Report: Francona to attend Fenway event

Despite his messy departure last year, former Red Sox manager Terry Francona will return to Fenway Park Friday for the team’s celebration of the ballpark’s 100-year anniversary.

Francona told The Boston Globe last week he would not attend the centennial celebration, but according to ESPN he has changed his mind, feeling an obligation to Red Sox fans.

The manager who guided the team to two World Series titles, including the historic championship in 2004 that broke an 86-year drought, was let go by the team after a disastrous late-season collapse that left the Red Sox out of the 2011 playoffs.

The parting was made even messier by a Globe report in which anonymous team sources alleged Francona may have been affected during the season by marital problems and abuse of painkillers.

The 52-year-old, who is working as an analyst for ESPN this season, dismissed the report at the time, and told The Globe last week that "somebody went out of their way to make me look pretty bad."

He stated he could not return to Fenway Park and act as if nothing had happened "without feeling a little bit hypocritical."

The Red Sox have planned a host of pregame festivities to honor baseball’s oldest ballpark Friday afternoon, including an attempt at breaking the Guinness World Record for the largest toast in one venue.