One of the things that made the Red Sox so lovable and so admirable in years past was the dirt-dog, selfless, team-first mentality of players like Trot Nixon and Pedro Martinez.
While those names are gone for good, players of the modern era have exhibited similar traits at times in their careers.
David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia and Josh Beckett are three names that come to mind. During their glory days in Boston—notably the 2007 championship season in which all three men were contributors—they had the mindset that fans want to see from their players.
Now, these guys have this sense of entitlement about them. They feel like they are above the rest of the team. They feel like they're more important.
When Dustin Pedroia made his comments earlier in the season that opposed the actions of his manager, it indicated that they may even consider themselves to be above the level of their skipper.
That's not how winning teams are constructed.
The manager is the leader of the team, and there is only so much that Bobby Valentine can do to win his clubhouse over. The other half of that battle falls on the shoulders of these tenured Red Sox who need to sacrifice a bit of pride to put the team before themselves.
The Red Sox have what it takes to be a successful contender in 2012. If they can figure out how to keep the pieces together and whip them into synchronization, then Boston may see its first playoff baseball team since 2009.