Cleveland chicken brings back Boston memories for Francona

CLEVELAND — One might think Indians manager Terry Francona might have cringed at the thought of a chicken in his clubhouse.
But he had a good time with the presence of what has become known as the “Rally Chicken” in Cleveland.
Obviously, the past is indeed past.
Wednesday night the Indians decided to prank reliever Cody Allen, nicknamed ChickenAl by one of his teammates. A duo of pitchers brought a live chicken to the field and presented it to Allen during batting practice. “Cody” the chicken hung out amidst the relievers, then made pre- and postgame visits to the clubhouse on a night the Indians won their second-of-three from the Orioles.
The last time chicken was mentioned in relation to Francona’s clubhouse was in Boston. Shortly after he was not brought back after the 2011 season, a story broke criticizing him for lack of discipline because players were eating fried chicken and drinking beer during games.
It was a pretty preposterous charge — from unnamed sources — for a manager who had given the Red Sox eight years and won two World Series.
Before Friday’s game, Francona was asked if he was pleased that his Cleveland chicken experience was better than the last time it was mentioned in his clubhouse.
Francona let out a huge guffaw.
“I hadn’t thought of that,” Francona said. “That’s pretty good.”
Live chicken instead of fried chicken, he was asked?
“As long as the chicken wasn’t drinking beer in the clubhouse,” Francona said, “we’re good to go.”
And on that note he quickly departed the interview.