Is This the Least Fun Boston Red Sox Season Ever?
For Boston Red Sox fans, this season just keeps getting worse. Every time it feels like the team has hit bottom, they find a way to dig their hole a little deeper.
In the past 48 hours, Red Sox icon and beloved link to the past Johnny Pesky died, and Yahoo! Sports has revealed a potential player mutiny against manager Bobby Valentine.,
Throw in the fact that the Red Sox are a sub-.500 team in mid-August, and there are fewer and fewer links to the championship season. Rooting for them has become a near impossible task.
The Red Sox have had losing seasons before, the last one coming in 1997. And the team has had dysfunction from the top down, like they did in 2001 when Dan Duquette and Jimy Williams butted heads and Red Sox Nation had both Carl Everett and Manny Ramirez in the same clubhouse.
But I'm hard pressed to remember a team this bad on the field, this tumultuous behind the scenes and this unlikable overall.
Bobby Valentine is, of course, a culprit. He is not the only factor that made the 2012 Sox unwatchable, but he is not a scapegoat. He is a major contributor to this disaster.
According to ESPN.com, Valentine's hiring was hated by the players right away. Divisive from the start, he seemed to alienate everyone in an already fractured clubhouse in spring training.
Valentine made the Youkilis situation unbearable, got Pedroia angry and seemed to have the whole team hating to show up to the park. According to USA Today, many players were upset by how he let Jon Lester absorb a thrashing on July 22.
And now comes the revelation that angry texts to management and a private meeting occurred where players aired their complaints about Valentine. The most telling thing about the Yahoo! story is that nobody could possibly be surprised by it.
It is not all Valentine's fault, of course. Larry Lucchino was the one who thought bringing Bobby Valentine into a fractured clubhouse was a bright idea. Of course, this was the same team that did not respond to Terry Francona's hands-off approach in the great collapse of 2011, but bringing in Valentine was a panic move.
Lucchino was the chief culprit of throwing Francona under the proverbial bus after the 2011 season and created needless drama and tension leading to Boston's 100th anniversary celebration of Fenway Park.
How much influence Lucchino has over new general manager Ben Cherington is unclear. What is obvious is that, in the short term, the trades for Andrew Bailey and Mark Melancon have been disastrous and that they got virtually nothing for Kevin Youkilis. And converting Daniel Bard has been the stupidest decision since the Yankees destroyed Joba Chamberlain's career.
The team has endured more injuries than any team could possibly absorb, but the players on the field could make an effort to be more likable.
From Josh Beckett's golf game and indifference to Jon Lester getting bombed regularly to David Ortiz complaining and sitting out longer to help his free agency status, according to WEEI, the list goes on. To watch a player from the 2004 ALCS excel, Red Sox fans have to watch the Yankees and see Derek Lowe pitch out of the bullpen.
Even a season-ending surgery can not keep John Lackey and his beer pounding out of the clubhouse (according to USA Today) as a reminder of last year's disaster.
Practically the only reason to watch this team was to see a potential glimpse of good things to come, but with Will Middlebrooks' season ending, even those bright spots are dimming.
The Red Sox bandwagon, once flush with new fans in pink hats, has a lot of room now. Any claim the team makes of a sellout streak in Fenway Park can be questioned with images of empty seats throughout the ballpark.
What Red Sox Nation is witnessing is a perfect blend of rotten baseball, bad personalities and incompetent management.
And with Johnny Pesky's death, more links to the past have ended.
Red Sox victories, even recent ones involving late rallies against the Yankees in the Bronx, are met with a polite golf clap. This is a team that is almost impossible to root for.
The only reason to cheer this team can be linked to Jerry Seinfeld's observation. We root for clothes. Players are wearing Red Sox uniforms and we root for those uniforms.
We sure aren't rooting for the people wearing the uniforms or the organization running the team.
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