The Boston Globe dropped a neutron bomb on the Red Sox overnight. On the surface, the details below might not feel like that big of a deal. But when you take into account what the team did last offseason, the preseason expectations, the historic collapse and the fact that Boston is a passionate baseball town, this is a horrible, horrible look for the Red Sox. It has cost them a coach. And now, a GM. The six-year run is over.
What factors might have aided the 21 losses in their final 29 games to miss the postseason? Let’s take a look:
* “Beckett, Lester, and Lackey in a time of crisis can be seen in what team sources say became their habit of drinking beer, eating fast-food fried chicken, and playing video games in the clubhouse during games while their teammates tried to salvage a once-promising season.” [Their combined record in September? 2-7 with a 6.45 ERA, and the Red Sox lost 11 of their 15 starts]
* those three pitchers preferred video games to extra stretching and working out
* “Team sources said Francona, who has acknowledged losing influence with some former team leaders, appeared distracted during the season by issues related to his troubled marriage and to his health. Francona spent the season living in a hotel after he moved out of the Brookline home he shared with Jacque, his wife of nearly 30 years. But he adamantly denied his marital problems affected his job performance.” There’s also a reference to pill-popping
* The players didn’t want to play a day-night doubleheader on Friday or Saturday in late August, so they complained to management. Fearful, management “responded by giving all the players $300 headphones and inviting them to enjoy a players-only night on principal owner John W. Henry’s yacht after they returned from a road trip Sept. 11.”
* Jason Varitek, who got engaged to Nick Swisher’s ex-girlfriend in April, “in a brief conversation, chastised a reporter for calling him at home and otherwise declined to comment.” [Those two things are not connected, but I always find it funny when writers work small details like that into the story.]
* “As joyful as Ellsbury’s MVP-caliber season was to many fans, his interaction in the Sox clubhouse was limited mostly to his friend Jed Lowrie.” Jacoby Ellsbury had no friends! Nobody liked arguably the team’s best player!
Couldn’t happen to a nicer group of guys, let me tell you. My only question – as the team was unraveling, how come the media didn’t notice anything? [Boston Globe]