October 14, 2011

facepalm Pretty amazing to watch the Red Sox implode like they did down the stretch in September to go 7-20 and lose out to the Tampa Bay Rays for the AL wild card. But if you’re a savvy follower of The Great White Shank, you wouldn’t have been all that surprised: all the way back in May I was bemoaning the fact that they started out of the gate 2-10 after dropping their last eight spring training games – a feat I still find impossible to comprehend.

Clearly this was a team that either: a) believed all the predictions that they were a shoo-in for the World Series and thought all they had to do was show up, b) came in out of shape, unmotivated, and unprepared, or c) both. No matter what the case, it was clear throughout the season – even when they were going great guns in July and August – that manager Terry Francona had lost control of the team. The pitching staff was uneven, the defense was uneven, at times even listless, and there really seemed to be a lack of joy and passion from the manager on down.

I understand professional baseball is not college football, so one has to be careful about intangibles like a “clubhouse leader” and a rah-rah type of passion. But this team was not a likeable one all year. Outside of second baseman Dustin Pedroia, centerfielder Jacoby Ellsbury, and outfielder Josh Reddick for a time, I don’t recall too many players getting dirty and giving it their all during the games. Is it asking so much to show that you at least care? Or at least play fundamental baseball?

Of course, throwing Francona under the bus as unceremoniously as he was, the impending departure of GM Theo Epstein, and the infighting that is still going on between the players and the fans, the fans and media, the media against other media, and the owners against, well, everyone (and vice-versa) is not a pretty sight. In fact, it’s pretty embarrassing if you’re a Red Sox fan. But maybe this is a good thing – spill your guts, empty all barrels, and bring new people in to clean up the mess and start over. It wouldn’t bother me one bit.

Frankly, the only people I’d be keeping as my core are pitchers Josh Beckett, John Lester, Clay Buchholz, Daniel Bard, and Jonathan Papelbon; first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, Pedroia, left fielder Carl Crawford (he’s too good to have as bad a year as he did this year), Ellsbury, and DH David Ortiz. The rest of the bunch you can trade for a bag of balls (or a set of Obama administration playing cards featuring all the articles of the Constitution they have broken thus far) and clean house.

Gordon Edes is right: make a few good moves, put the lineup in a way that Terry Francona never cared about to understand – a lineup of Ellsbury/Crawford/Pedroia/Gonzalez/Ortiz is a good way to start – and get everyone revved up to play some good fundamental baseball (again, something that Francona never cared enough about), and this team will seriously contend.

Right now it ain’t pretty, but there’s a lot of snow to fall and a lot of Hemingway Daiquiris (how’s that for a teaser on tomorrow’s post?) to drink between now and spring training. Come February with some new management and new faces, and people will forget about 2011 quick enough. Especially if pitcher John Lackey is booted out of town and pitcher Tim Wakefield is presented his gold watch for many years of dedicated service.

Still, that doesn’t make it any more palatable to watch it all melt down as it is doing at the present time.

Filed in: Golf & Sports by The Great White Shank at 00:54 | Comments (3)
  1. Hey, Doug.

    One of the sports writers at the Herald said that Beckett needed to go, as he’s one of the instigators in the laid-back clubhouse thing.

    Comment by Dave Richard — October 14, 2011 @ 8:30 am

  2. I know, but I don’t think you trade Beckett away unless you’re getting something at least equal in return. Good starting pitching is scarce enough.

    Comment by The Great White Shank — October 14, 2011 @ 12:12 pm

  3. Doug:

    Theres nothing wrong with the Red Sox pitchers?

    There finger lickin good!


    Comment by Ron "Cubby" Myerow — October 14, 2011 @ 2:41 pm

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