This picture pretty much says it all. This is the attitude the Red Sox will have to have about the year 2011 and everything that came with it.
It was a roller coaster-type year for the Sox in 2011, but unlike most coasters, the biggest drop off came at the end of the ride, as opposed to the beginning.
Going 7-20 in September was the biggest free-falling coaster in MLB history—not to mention all the drama that followed!
A lot of big contract seasons this year in Boston.
David Ortiz, Tim Wakefield, Jason Veritek and Jonathan Papelbon are all question marks to return. There is a lot of speculation on what will happen to these key players.
Wakefield could easily come back and pitch, but if he doesn't, the biggest loss would be his presence in the clubhouse.
Much of the same could be said about Jason Veritek. The man wear's the "C" on his jersey and is key in the development of the young catchers in the program.
The toughest goodbye, though, would be that of Big Papi. If Ortiz decides to go elsewhere, the fans in Boston would be crushed, and that leaves a big hole to fill in the line-up.
With the exit of manager Terry Francona, there will be a new man leading the Red Sox in 2012.
Although the manager hasn't been chosen yet, there is one man they will be talking to: Dave Martinez.
Martinez would be a younger manager, and it has been said the Sox may be thinking of going younger. He has been working under Joe Madden in Tampa Bay, and Madden has done nothing but great things with that program, including leading the surge that ended up overtaking Boston in the wild card chase.
Tampa is known for keeping things casual off the field, but they bring it when it comes down to game time. He could be a great new addition to the Sox if they decide to go that way.
Whichever way the Sox go in the managerial search, there will be a burning building waiting for that man to walk into.
One thing that is for sure, the Red Sox will have a strong core group of guys back in 2012 who need to take the lead.
Jacoby Ellsbury, Dustin Pedroia and Adrian Gonzalez are now the heart and sole of the Sox, and they need to be in the front of the pack.
In 2011 all three of these guys had stellar, MVP-type seasons, and they are also gold glovers.
For the Sox to have success in 2012, these three need to have repeat seasons. And on top of that, they need to take the reigns as leaders in the clubhouse.
All in all, the entire Red Sox club will have a bad taste in their mouths entering 2012. The feeling they had after the 2011 season ended will not go away in 2012, which should give them the added motivation to answer the bell.
There are two key players who will have an especially bad taste in their mouths, John Lackey and Carl Crawford.
These are two guys who need to have the desire to fix those problems if the Red Sox want to be a factor in 2012. They will both be back and will both be pieces of the puzzle.
The biggest piece of the two is John Lackey. The Sox offense was never the problem, as they picked up the absence of Carl Carwford, but the pitching struggled without Lackey performing well.
The biggest key to the Red Sox returning to success in 2012 is getting back together.
The Sox can only hope that David Ortiz can return in 2012. If he does, he needs to take on that leader roll, because he is the face of the Sox. He is the guy the fans turn to for answers, for big hits, and for leadership of the club.
The team needs to come together again as a club, a group of men, and as a summer family.
If they can accomplish this task and add a few key guys to the mix, the Red Sox could return to the playoffs in 2012. Without this, they could be on the outside looking in again!