The 2012 Boston Red Sox have done the impossible. They have made Boston fans nostalgic for 2011.
That's right. Compared to the current Sox team, the 2011 squad complete with the epic, beer-soaked and fried chicken- stained collapse was a beloved squad. When put alongside the 2012 Sox, last year seems as cherished a season as 1967, 1975, 2004 and 2007.
Four Boston Red Sox players showed up to Johnny Pesky's funeral. Four. Not even half of a full lineup could be bothered to attend the funeral of one of the most beloved figures in the history of the franchise.
For many, that was the last straw for this team. There is actually a Facebook page calling for fans to boycott the Red Sox just like the players turned their backs on Pesky.
And with a blockbuster trade on the horizon that would break up the team according to Jeff Passan at Yahoo! Sports, the only emotion Sox fans should feel is relief that the organization is moving forward because the present frankly stinks.
It would be bad enough that the Red Sox are, barring an unlikely winning streak, about to experience their first losing season since 1997. The third-highest payroll in baseball should at least win as many games as they lose.
Injuries and a thin pitching staff have conspired against them. But, they had injuries and iffy pitching in 2001 and 2010 and still won more than they lost.
Also, a losing season does not necessarily mean an unlikable team. In 1987, the Red Sox gave a feeble defense of their American League pennant and near World Series title. They finished 78-84. But during the season, young players like Mike Greenwell, Ellis Burks, Todd Benzinger, John Marzano, Sam Horn and Jody Reed all contributed and gave the Red Sox hope for the future.
This team is not about hope. It is all despair.
The team has had terrible trades this year. The Red Sox could sure use Josh Reddick, Jed Lowrie and Kevin Youkilis instead of Mark Melancon's 6.48 ERA, Andrew Bailey's two innings and Brent Lillibridge's 16 at-bats. They could have used Daniel Bard the reliever instead of Daniel Bard the awful starter.
And of course, they could have possibly picked a worse manager for this team than Bobby Valentine, but it is unclear how that is plausible.
Valentine is not the only problem and should not be the scapegoat for all the team's problems. But, he is one of the problems—so is the unreliable pitching staff and inconsistent lineup.
And, as I wrote just 10 days ago on Bleacher Report, the entire season has been one off-the-field embarrassment after another.
The treatment of Francona and Youkilis. Beckett's golf game. Lackey pounding beer in the clubhouse. Ortiz sitting out for his free agency. Pedroia not keeping his story straight about wanting Valentine fired. The nonsense about Kelly Shoppach using Adrian Gonzalez's phone to send a text message to management.
And finally, there was the Pesky funeral.
According to Eric Wilbur of Boston.com, almost the entire roster was a no-show, despite management providing transportation to the funeral. Conversely, almost everyone showed up to Josh Beckett's charity bowling tournament the same night. No doubt, when picking which event to honor, most of the team chose the one where beer was flowing.
There is no reason to root for this team this year other than our allegiance to their uniform and our memories. This team has checked out.
Maybe the pending trade with the Dodgers is a good thing. The sooner 2012 is over for Red Sox fans, the better.