The month of September was a bummer for the loyal denizens of Red Sox Nation. An epic collapse of biblical proportions. We saw what unfolded on the field. A 7-20 record. The worst teams in baseball play better than that. What we didn’t see or hear about was the dissension that apparently was going on in the Red Sox clubhouse. It seems like the end of the road for Terry Francona, and so far, at least, no one is coming to his defense. I predict that when one of the Boston media tracks down Dustin Pedroia, he will stand up for his skipper. Beyond that, I don’t know.
It is disturbing to think what transpired behind the closed doors. Reports of pitchers drinking in the clubhouse during games, on days they weren’t pitching. I had been told in previous years that Francona reigned over that domain with an iron fist. I had also been told that his word was law. For whatever reason, if we are to believe these reports, Tito let loose his grip and the Sox imploded. Ballplayers, like young children, need guidance. Late in the year, the “loveable” David Ortiz called out Francona, challenging his decision to keep Alfredo Aceves in the bullpen. That was in the midst of their historic freefall out of the playoffs. Not what they needed. Especially from a “leader.”
Listen, I know, or have known most of the 20112 Red Sox. The ones I know, are good guys. Kevin Youkilis, Jacoby Ellsbury, John Lester Dustin Pedroia. The nucleus has come through McCoy Stadium. Are we to believe that these young men have changed so much that they stopped caring? I really am confused. These guys, who for four months were the best team in baseball, just laid down and died. I can accept player failure. It happens. What I can’t accept, and I think most fans agree, is a lack of effort, or worse, a lack of caring.
Terry Franconas’ job, and the jobs of his staff, are hanging in the balance. A month ago, Tito would have rated as the fifth face on Mount Rushmore. Now, it looks like he’ll be a footnote in Red Sox history. How do you fire a man who has won two World Series titles since 2004. You can’t fire the whole team. You’re stuck with a big donkey in Jon Lackey. Millions down the drain. Can Carl Crawford revert back to his Tampa Bay All Star form? I think that the Red Sox have signed many players over the years for a couple of reasons. A.) So they could have them. and B.) So the Yankees couldn’t. Theo went out and spent like a drunken sailor and what do we have to show for it? One more win in 2011 than they had in 2010. Maybe they should have kept Adrian Beltre and Victor Martinez and taken a flyer on Crawford. Nice job with Bobby Jenks, too. If it sounds like I am frustrated, Bingo!
I could live with Sox not making the playoffs. What I’m having trouble with are the reasons that are slowly trickling out of the offices at Fenway Park. I have a feeling that this is only the beginning. Cleaning house should begin with Tim Wakefield, and some of his discontented teammates. There is a lot of work to be done. It’s going to be an interesting offseason.