Red Sox logo (upside down to show how terrible they are)Note: This post has been updated a few times since it was originally posted.

Pardon yet another off-topic diatribe about the putrid stench that now surrounds the Boston Red Sox. The wanton childishness going on within that team has reached epic proportions. The team fell below .500 some time ago and remains there. They’re now 6 games back in the hunt for the 2nd American League wild-card slot, with a number of teams — all better-performing — ahead of them. While it’s mathematically possible for them to reach the playoffs, with a month and half left to go in the season, it’s safe to say they’re out of contention. They’re toast.

But as I’ve blogged before, this is not new. The team’s woes go back at least to the pathetic ending of their 2009 season. Since then they simply have not gotten much done, and last September’s collapse was record-setting. I’m sure none of this is news to anyone in the organization; you’d think they’d have buckled down to improve their play and salvage the season. I mean, it seems pretty obvious, doesn’t it?

Sadly, it turns out this is anything but obvious to the Red Sox. Rather than double-down on their baseball in an effort to climb out of the American League cellar, the players and staff have worked overtime, whining, complaining, and milking grudges all over the place. The main point of contention seems to be manager Bobby Valentine, a lightning-rod if ever there was one. Yesterday, Yahoo Sports reported that players demanded — and got — a meeting with ownership over him in July (WebCite cached article). There, several of them stated overtly that they refuse to play for Valentine any more. He’s too brusque for them. It’s true that Valentine is too mouthy for his own good (cached), but that’s not news to anyone in baseball; everyone knew what they were getting. It’s also true that Valentine is being blamed for the team’s failure and lots of fans — not to mention many in the sports media — would love to see him fired ASAP.

But despite Valentine’s flaws — and yes, there are plenty — he is most certainly not the problem (even though it now appears he’s not the solution). He was not with the team when it flamed out of the ALDS in 2009. He was not with the team when it failed to reach the playoffs in 2010. He was not with the team when it collapsed cataclysmically last year. He didn’t mismanage so many players’ recovery from injuries over the last three years (including David Ortiz, who should have been back on the team by now, but for no reason anyone can discern, is nowhere near returning). He didn’t go 1 for 10 with runners in scoring position last night (cached). While the players would love to have the milquetoast Terry Francona back as manager, nearly all of that happened on Tito’s watch. There’s no valid reason to expect the Sox would be any better if he were still managing, even though a lot of the Fenway Faithful are (stupidly) pining for his return.

In the wake of this “mutiny” report, Dustin Pedroia — supposedly one of Valentine’s most ardent foes — backpedaled on this (cached), and said the players had not agitated for a new manager. Sorry, but I’m not buying his double-take, and neither is most of Boston’s sports media (cached). It’s safe to say the Yahoo Sports report has come credibility, especially given that Sox principal owner John Henry admitted to being mystified about (cached) the discontent with Valentine (if there hadn’t been any, this admission would not have made any sense).

It’s already long past time for everyone on the team — players, coaches, management, and owners alike — to pull on their “big boy” pants and start acting their ages. Stop with the fucking meetings already. Stop with the whining and kvetching. Stop using injuries as an excuse for your own failures. Stop the finger-pointing. Stop mouthing off all the time. Stop running to reporters when you’re unhappy about something. Stop playing games with players’ recovery from injuries. Just get back to fucking work, and play ball (or coach, or manage, or whatever) as though you’re actually worth the millions of dollars a year you get paid to do it.

I wrap this up by pointing out — once again — that the ultimate responsibility for this debacle belongs to the Red Sox ownership. They’re the ones who write the checks to everyone working for the team. It’s their job to fix the situation — and not respond to it, as John Henry did, with a deer-in-the-headlights style “I’m mystified” response. That you don’t know what’s wrong with your own fucking team, Mr Henry, is perhaps the worst thing about all this. Either take control of the Red Sox, or sell the team to someone who cares and isn’t obsessed with becoming an English soccer mogul.

Update 1: The English soccer mogul added confirmation of the Yahoo Sports report in an email he sent to the media (cached). It ends with some of the worst bullshit I’ve ever come across:

But what is important for Red Sox fans to know is that ownership, players and all staff especially Bobby Valentine are determined to turn around what has thus far been an unacceptable, failed season. We are all on the same page in that regard and will not waver.

It’s been almost 3 weeks since those meetings. Since then the Sox have gone 8-11. There hasn’t been any improvement in their play. They were a sub-.500 team before the meetings, and they’ve played sub-.500 baseball since. Sorry, Mr Henry, but your claim that your team “will not waver” in its efforts, is simply not credible. I’m tired of hearing whiny platitudes and baseless assertions: Either get your team to play the way it should, or sell it off to someone who will.

Oh, and to add insult to injury … this poor excuse for a baseball team just threw tonight’s game away, too (cached). Well done, guys! What a great way to demonstrate that you “will not waver.”

Update 2: The Boston sports media are weighing in on this disaster of a team and its latest kiddie-style drama; it appears the days of mindless cheerleading for the home team are over. Kirk Minihane at WEEI radio agrees with me that ownership is at fault here, more than anyone else (cached):

It has to end. John Henry, not Larry Lucchino, not Ben Cherington, not Dustin Pedroia, not Bobby Valentine, needs to stand up, show some backbone and gain control of this organization. Because right now there is no question — none — that the players are in charge. …

It’s time for the owners to stop rolling over. Take a look at the standings for the last three years and then read Passan’s story. What they are doing simply isn’t working.

And Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe agrees with me that the team’s ills have been years in the making (cached):

The Red Sox last made the playoffs in 2009. They last won a playoff game in 2008. It is now 2012. This core group of players was underachieving a long, long time before Valentine showed up. That is undeniable.

The Red Sox have become accustomed to losing. With a few exceptions, most of the players shrug their shoulders and go about their business. That business, with few exceptions, is not winning baseball games.

There, ’nuff said. (Bonus points to anyone who gets that allusion!)

Update 3: As unbelievable as it may seem, last night the Red Sox outdid themselves in incompetence. The Oakland A’s obliterated and shamed them last night, blowing them out 20-2 (cached). This leaves them with an August 2012 record of 9-20, hardly much better than their disgusting, shameful, inexcusable 7-20 record in September 2011. Despite the earth-shattering blockbuster deal with the L.A. Dodgers that sent the team’s three largest contracts packing (cached), it’s plain that absolutely nothing whatsoever has changed among the rump team left behind by that massive trade. If we hadn’t realized it already, last night’s debacle ought to make it crystal clear: The Red Sox are no longer a major-league team. They’re a fucking disgrace.

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11 Responses to “The Long Nightmare On Yawkey Way Continues”
  1. So, now that the Bobby V. nightmare and the ridiculously useless Carl Crawford situation seem to be over with, do you harbor any hope for the future of the venerable BoSox?

    • PsiCop says:

      No. The truth is that neither Valentine, nor Crawford … nor Beckett, nor any of the rest of that sour, lazy crew … were the real problem in the first place. They were just symptoms. And that was the team's mismanagement. The ownership and top management (and by that, I mean team president Larry Lucchino and his pals Tom Werner and John Henry) are to blame.

      They were the ones who allowed the team to degrade over the last three years. They were the ones who allowed the players to choose not to play. They were the ones who let Francona twist in the breeze as the 2011 season came to an end. They were the ones who set Valentine up for failure. They were the ones who indulged surly, entitled players like Crawford and Beckett to do whatever they wanted, any time they wanted, rather than telling them to get their sorry, whiny asses back on the field and play like they mean it. They were willing parties to the players' attempted coup, and took their side against Valentine. They were the ones who took more interest in their English soccer club than their American baseball team.

      Until they acknowledge their failures; until they describe what they did wrong, and why; until they promise to change their behavior; and until they apologize to fans for what they did to the Red Sox; it's not safe to assume this same stream of bullshit won't continue. To date I have heard nothing that tells me they intend to do anything differently than they have.

      And that means the Red Sox are doomed to remain in the American League cellar forever.

  2. Hmm… bad owners (Marge Schott – Reds, Vince Naimoli – Devil Rays, etc.) can surely make for bad franchises. I hope the Boston Red Sox owners get their shit together one day soon. The people of Boston deserve better, I think.

  3. So, any thoughts on the new season?

    Rays just now took a 3-2 lead against the Orioles in the opener. YAY! 🙂

    • PsiCop says:

      No, no thoughts. I'm too sickened by the Sox' antics even to care any more. And I'm certainly not impressed by all their expressions of remorse over last season. They may have signed a bunch of "character guys" over the off-season, but none of them are very impressive. 2013 will be just another lost season. They'll be lucky to end the season at .500. My only consolation is that they'll share the bottom of the A.L. East with the New York Yankees Antiques.

  4. Sadly, the Rays blew their opener. 🙁

    It's also sad that you seem to have given up on your love of baseball due to your angst with the BlowSox. You should pick another team to root for… the Orioles, perhaps? The Tigers, maybe?

    • PsiCop says:

      Why would any rational fan root for any team, now? The players are in charge. They play when they want to, and don't when they don't feel like it. They milk injuries for weeks, months, or even years of off-time. Ortiz and his partial Achilles tear is the biggest joke I've ever seen. I suffered a partial Achilles tear myself, in my mid-twenties. I was back to normal in 3 months. It's been over 7 for Ortiz and he's still months away from ever playing a game.

      The Red Sox are the tip of the baseball iceberg; every team will soon experience the same problem. (Hell, it's already hit the New York Yankees Antiques.) They have several major players who've already arranged for months of off-time. Baseball is a fucking joke.

  5. *sigh*

    Well, it's all about the $$$, of course. Baseball isn't quite as blatant about it as the NFL, but that's what it's all about.

    Still… baseball to me is something that brings back memories and joys from my youth. I get the same feeling every spring. I still listen to most baseball games on the radio. I'm listening to the Rays right now, actually.

    I just like baseball. I'll watch any games, any teams, even minor league games. Actually, the FL Grapefruit League is very entertaining. My local team/stadium within walking distance of my house is the Tampa Bay Yankees (NYY's AAA affiliate). I follow their escapades every day in the newspaper, and occasionally get to see a game or two.

    I just love baseball. I know you did at one time, too. I'm sorry to read that you've lost that love somewhere in the parking lot behind the Green Monster. I hope you can rekindle your joy someday.



  6. Psi, here's an article you might find entertaining…

    • PsiCop says:

      Hmm. I knew about a lot of this. And it only stands to reason that guys with enough money to buy baseball teams are going to be assholes. But some of what Mother Jones comes up with is … well, the kind of weirdness they're famous for. Fred Wilpon is an asshole, because Bernie Madoff swindled him? Come on!

      But guys like Loria and Crane … both of whom have admitted they simply refuse to pay for talent … are most assuredly the chief "asshole" team owners. Paying for talent is part and parcel of owning any sports team. It comes with the territory, by definition, and they both knew it before they bought in.

  7. Well, I wouldn't mind waking up tomorrow morning to find that I've suddenly transformed into a rich asshole. I'd even settle for a comfortably well-to-do asshole. I'm not greedy. 😉

    MoJo does come up with some odd stuff sometimes… kinda' like Alternet.