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2016 MLB thread. THE CUBS HAVE BROKEN THE CURSE! Chicago Cubs are your 2016 World Series champions. - Page 106

post #3151 of 77571
Watching these playoffs really makes me dread the prospect of more wild card teams. I mean they're really considering upping the variance of the playoffs even more? We already have a 5 game series format in the first round which is ridiculous in a game like baseball, and completely unfair to teams that have demonstrated superiority over the course of an entire season. Now they're going to add more teams to dilute the postseason even further? Years from now we could have 87 win teams winning the World Series. smiley: sick


Olney says the Orioles are in on Tony LaCava (Tor Asst. GM), among others. One can only hope.
post #3152 of 77571
Watching these playoffs really makes me dread the prospect of more wild card teams. I mean they're really considering upping the variance of the playoffs even more? We already have a 5 game series format in the first round which is ridiculous in a game like baseball, and completely unfair to teams that have demonstrated superiority over the course of an entire season. Now they're going to add more teams to dilute the postseason even further? Years from now we could have 87 win teams winning the World Series. smiley: sick


Olney says the Orioles are in on Tony LaCava (Tor Asst. GM), among others. One can only hope.
post #3153 of 77571
Thread Starter 
I think the drama of the last week really killed some momentum for a second WC. Their argument was that this year lacked the excitement down the stretch (which looked like it might be true on September 1st).
post #3154 of 77571
Thread Starter 
I think the drama of the last week really killed some momentum for a second WC. Their argument was that this year lacked the excitement down the stretch (which looked like it might be true on September 1st).
post #3155 of 77571
Thread Starter 
Boston Herald saying Theo is on the verge of leaving for Chicago.
post #3156 of 77571
Thread Starter 
Boston Herald saying Theo is on the verge of leaving for Chicago.
post #3157 of 77571
It'd be so trill, if Theo goes to the Cubs and win.
post #3158 of 77571
It'd be so trill, if Theo goes to the Cubs and win.
post #3159 of 77571
This Francona slander is something else....talking about him w. marital problems and popping pills left and right laugh.gif30t6p3b.gif On top of it all, I guess there's a pic circulating somewhere of Beckett/Lackey/Lester getting tanked in the clubhouse while the team was still on the field playing. Sox had a TON of problems that a lot of folks weren't aware of. Culture of that team needs to change...but it might be easier said than done due to the ridiculous contracts these guys are carrying...
post #3160 of 77571
This Francona slander is something else....talking about him w. marital problems and popping pills left and right laugh.gif30t6p3b.gif On top of it all, I guess there's a pic circulating somewhere of Beckett/Lackey/Lester getting tanked in the clubhouse while the team was still on the field playing. Sox had a TON of problems that a lot of folks weren't aware of. Culture of that team needs to change...but it might be easier said than done due to the ridiculous contracts these guys are carrying...
post #3161 of 77571
Thread Starter 
Francona's been popping pills since 2000 for his surgeries, that's a load of crap.  These dudes in Boston will use anything as an excuse.  You should hear some of the crap that they're saying to justify letting go of Francona and now Theo.  Bunch of dopes.  Now all they want to look at is the mistakes they both made during the last 8 years.  I hope that whole city goes back to the dark ages.  Good read on the clubhouse.  Calling out the dudes who made the rift in the clubhouse very wide.

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Spoiler [+]

With their team in peril and their manager losing his authority, three Red Sox pitchers last month were uniquely positioned to prevent the greatest September collapse in major league history. All the Sox needed was Josh Beckett, Jon Lester, and John Lackey to apply the skills and commitment that previously made them World Series champions.

Instead, Boston’s three elite starters went soft, their pitching as anemic as their work ethic. The indifference of 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.

The story of Boston’s lost September unfolds in part as an indictment of the three prized starters. But the epic flop of 2011 had many faces: a lame-duck manager, coping with personal issues, whose team partly tuned him out; stars who failed to lead; players who turned lackluster and self-interested; a general manager responsible for fruitless roster decisions; owners who approved unrewarding free agent spending and missed some warning signs that their $161 million club was deteriorating.

How a team that was on pace in late August to win 100 games and contend for its third World Series title in seven years self-destructed is a story of disunity, disloyalty, and dysfunction like few others in franchise history.

This article is based on a series of interviews the Globe conducted with individuals familiar with the Sox operation at all levels. Most requested anonymity out of concern for their jobs or potential damage to their relationships in the organization. Others refused to comment or did not respond to interview requests.

Second baseman Dustin Pedroia, portrayed on a Sports Illustrated cover in August as “the heart of the Red Sox,’’ declined to hold any individual culpable.

“I just know that playing in Boston, you’re required to play your tail off every day to try to win ballgames for this city,’’ Pedroia said. “That’s what hurt so much as a player, that we not only let each other down in the clubhouse but we let the city down.’’

By numerous accounts, manager Terry Francona lost his ability to prevent some of the lax behavior that characterized the collapse. 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.

“It makes me angry that people say these things because I’ve busted my [butt] to be the best manager I can be,’’ Francona said. “I wasn’t terribly successful this year, but I worked harder and spent more time at the ballpark this year than I ever did.’’

Team sources also expressed concern that Francona’s performance may have been affected by his use of pain medication, which he also vehemently denied. Francona said he has taken pain medicine for many years, particularly after multiple knee surgeries. He said he used painkillers after knee surgery last October and used them during the season to relieve the discomfort of doctors draining blood from his knee at least five times.

Francona acknowledged that he consulted the team’s internist, Dr. Larry Ronan, during spring training after one of his children expressed concern about a pill bottle in his hotel room. Francona said the doctor told him he did not have a drug abuse problem. Ronan could not be reached.

“I went and saw the proper people and it was not an issue,’’ Francona said. “It never became an issue, and anybody who knew what was going on knows that.’’

Commitment lacking By all accounts, the 2011 Sox perished from a rash of relatively small indignities. For every player committed to the team’s conditioning program, there was a slacker. For every Sox regular who rose early on the road to take optional batting practice, there were others who never bothered. For every player who dedicated himself to the quest for a championship, there were too many distracted by petty personal issues.

The closer the Sox inched toward September, the more their ill temperaments surfaced.

As Hurricane Irene barreled toward Boston in late August, management proposed moving up the Sunday finale of a weekend series against Oakland so the teams could play a day-night doubleheader either Friday, Aug. 26, or Saturday, Aug. 27. The reasoning seemed sound: the teams would avoid a Sunday rainout and the dilemma of finding a mutual makeup date for teams separated by 2,700 miles.

But numerous Sox players angrily protested. They returned early that Friday from Texas after a demanding stretch in which they had played 14 of 17 games on the road, with additional stops in Minneapolis, Seattle, and Kansas City. The players accused management of caring more about making money than winning, which marked the first time the team’s top executives sensed serious trouble brewing in the clubhouse.

As it turned out, the Sox swept the Saturday doubleheader, but that stormy day marked the beginning of the end for the 2011 team. It was the last time the team would win two games in a row. After getting two days off, the Sox spent the rest of the season playing uninspired, subpar baseball, losing 21 of their final 29 games.

Sox owners soon suspected the team’s poor play was related to lingering resentment over the scheduling dispute, sources said. The owners 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.

But the gestures made no difference. The hapless Sox became the laughingstocks of baseball as they went from holding a two-game divisional lead over the Yankees after the Aug. 27 doubleheader - and a nine-game advantage in the wild-card race over the Rays - to finishing a humiliating third in the AL East.

While the seeds of failure were sown long before the shame of September, other foreboding signs emerged earlier. In springtime, there proved to be regrettable irony in the entire starting rotation - Beckett, Lackey, Lester, Tim Wakefield, and Clay Buchholz - donning Sox uniforms and hamming it up in front of the Green Monster for a video of a country music ditty, “Hell Yeah, I Like Beer.’’

Drinking beer in the Sox clubhouse is permissible. So is ordering take-out chicken and biscuits. Playing video games on one of the clubhouse’s flat-screen televisions is OK, too. But for the Sox pitching trio to do all three during games, rather than show solidarity with their teammates in the dugout, violated an unwritten rule that players support each other, especially in times of crisis.

Sources said Beckett, Lester, and Lackey, who were joined at times by Buchholz, began the practice late in 2010. The pitchers not only continued the routine this year, sources said, but they joined a number of teammates in cutting back on their exercise regimens despite appeals from the team’s strength and conditioning coach Dave Page.

“It’ s hard for a guy making $80,000 to tell a $15 million pitcher he needs to get off his butt and do some work,’’ one source said.

For Beckett, Lester, and Lackey, the consequences were apparent as their body fat appeared to increase and pitching skills eroded. When the team needed them in September, they posted a combined 2-7 record with a 6.45 earned run average, the Sox losing 11 of their 15 starts.

Wakefield also was part of the problem. Amid a seemingly interminable quest for his 200th career victory, he went 1-2 with a 5.25 ERA in September, taxing the bullpen as the Sox lost four of his five starts. The 45-year-old knuckleballer then appeared more interested in himself than the team when he asserted in the final days of the season that the Sox should bring him back in 2012 to pursue the franchise’s all-time record for wins (shared by Roger Clemens and Cy Young at 192).

“I think the fans deserve an opportunity to watch me chase that record,’’ Wakefield told Fox Sports, raising eyebrows on Yawkey Way.

Growing ineffectiveness Francona, who mutually parted with the Sox after the season, has been careful not to criticize individual players. He generally downplayed the pitchers’ drinking in the clubhouse, but he left little doubt that their absence from the dugout reflected a lack of dedication to the team.

Beckett, Lackey, and Lester did not reply to messages left on their phones and with their agents.

“The guys that weren’t down on the bench, I wanted them down on the bench,’’ Francona said last week in a contractual appearance on WEEI. “I wanted them to support their teammates.’’

But Francona’s troubles ran deeper than the three starters. As he completed his eighth year as manager - a historic run in which he guided the Sox to two World Series titles - Francona by his own admission grew less capable of motivating the team. His losing influence with some former leaders came into sharper relief after he convened a closed-door meeting Sept. 7 after a 14-0 victory the previous night to address the clubhouse malaise. His players responded by failing to adjust their attitudes or improve their slipshod performances.

In the face of his team’s corroded spirit, Francona became increasingly ineffectual, according to team sources. Francona was burdened not only by the frustration of coping with the least dedicated group of players of his Boston tenure, but by the likelihood that Sox owners would not exercise his contractual option for 2012.

Francona took strong exception to the suggestion that his problems motivating the players had anything to do with his commitment to the team.

“You never heard any of these complaints when we were going 80-41 [from April 15 to Aug. 27] because there was nothing there,’’ Francona said. “But we absolutely stunk in the last month, so now we have to deal with a lot of this stuff because expectations were so high.’’

While Francona coped with his marital and health issues, he also worried privately about the safety of his son, Nick, and son-in-law, Michael Rice, both of whom are Marine officers serving in Afghanistan.

In the end, only Pedroia and a few other players appeared to remain fully committed to winning, according to team sources. They said the veterans who no longer actively exerted their leadership included the captain, Jason Varitek, who was saddled with injuries and ineffective on the field (he batted .077 in September).

The 39-year-old catcher, in a brief conversation, chastised a reporter for calling him at home and otherwise declined to comment.

Other than Varitek and Wakefield, the only holdovers from Francona’s 2004 championship run were David Ortiz and Kevin Youkilis. Although Ortiz once gathered his teammates in September to try to rally them, his most memorable act off the field in 2011 was bursting into a Francona news conference to profanely complain about a scorer’s decision that could have cost him credit for batting in a run.

Weeks later, Ortiz committed another disrespectful act by suggesting Francona was hurting the team by failing to insert reliever Alfredo Aceves in the starting rotation. Reached for this story, Ortiz said of his role in the collapse, “I don’t feel like talking about it anymore.’’

Nor was Youkilis willing to talk after a second straight injury-marred year in which his production suffered. Youkilis, by nearly all accounts, grew more detached and short-tempered as he tried to play through his ailments. He also factored in a divisive clubhouse issue as the only player last year who publicly criticized Jacoby Ellsbury - several others privately chided the outfielder - when Ellsbury missed all but 18 games with rib injuries.

The episode chilled Ellsbury’s relationship with the team. 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. Ellsbury produced one of the most sensational seasons for a leadoff hitter in franchise history - he also ranked with Pedroia, Aceves, and Jonathan Papelbon among the team’s hardest workers - but he contributed little to the clubhouse culture.

Leadership errors The gift of leadership also eluded Adrian Gonzalez. On the field, Gonzalez’s overall production was superb, but he provided none of the energy or passion off the field that the Sox sorely needed. His most unfortunate act in September was grousing about the Sox schedule, which required the team to play five getaway games on Sunday nights.

“We play too many night games on getaway days and get into places at 4 in the morning,’’ Gonzalez complained. “This has been my toughest season physically because of that.’’

Blaming five stressful nights over a six-month season for a tough year smacked of the self-interest that is uncommon among leaders of championship-caliber teams.

To general manager Theo Epstein, acquiring Gonzalez by trade last winter from San Diego was crucial to solidifying the middle of the Sox lineup. But Epstein struck out in trying to beef up the bullpen, most notably by investing $12 million over two years in Bobby Jenks, so far a bust.

The Sox also suffered from the exorbitant signing of Lackey ($82.5 million over five years), as the righthander logged the worst ERA (6.41) among regular starters in team history.

While Epstein has accepted blame for signing subpar performers such as Lackey and Jenks, the owners share the responsibility of unanimously approving their signings. But Carl Crawford was a different story.

Ownership was divided over Epstein’s push to acquire Crawford as a free agent, sources said. At least one top executive believed Crawford’s skills as a speedy lefthanded-hitting outfielder seemed to duplicate Ellsbury’s. But the owners ultimately agreed to gamble $142 million over seven years on Crawford - a lost wager to date.

The owners also indicated in postseason remarks they were generally unaware of how deeply damaged the Sox had become until after the season. They denied being distracted by their expanding sports conglomerate - from the Sox and NESN to Roush Fenway Racing and the Liverpool Football Club - but they professed to have no knowledge about players drinking during games, among other issues.

In the ugly aftermath, the Sox owners privately vowed to correct any lingering problems. And at least some players were expected to look in the mirror.

“We have to hold ourselves more accountable,’’ Pedroia said. “That has nothing to do with the manager or coaches. On the great major league teams, players police each other, so we’ll get back to doing that.’’

post #3162 of 77571
Thread Starter 
Francona's been popping pills since 2000 for his surgeries, that's a load of crap.  These dudes in Boston will use anything as an excuse.  You should hear some of the crap that they're saying to justify letting go of Francona and now Theo.  Bunch of dopes.  Now all they want to look at is the mistakes they both made during the last 8 years.  I hope that whole city goes back to the dark ages.  Good read on the clubhouse.  Calling out the dudes who made the rift in the clubhouse very wide.

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Spoiler [+]

With their team in peril and their manager losing his authority, three Red Sox pitchers last month were uniquely positioned to prevent the greatest September collapse in major league history. All the Sox needed was Josh Beckett, Jon Lester, and John Lackey to apply the skills and commitment that previously made them World Series champions.

Instead, Boston’s three elite starters went soft, their pitching as anemic as their work ethic. The indifference of 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.

The story of Boston’s lost September unfolds in part as an indictment of the three prized starters. But the epic flop of 2011 had many faces: a lame-duck manager, coping with personal issues, whose team partly tuned him out; stars who failed to lead; players who turned lackluster and self-interested; a general manager responsible for fruitless roster decisions; owners who approved unrewarding free agent spending and missed some warning signs that their $161 million club was deteriorating.

How a team that was on pace in late August to win 100 games and contend for its third World Series title in seven years self-destructed is a story of disunity, disloyalty, and dysfunction like few others in franchise history.

This article is based on a series of interviews the Globe conducted with individuals familiar with the Sox operation at all levels. Most requested anonymity out of concern for their jobs or potential damage to their relationships in the organization. Others refused to comment or did not respond to interview requests.

Second baseman Dustin Pedroia, portrayed on a Sports Illustrated cover in August as “the heart of the Red Sox,’’ declined to hold any individual culpable.

“I just know that playing in Boston, you’re required to play your tail off every day to try to win ballgames for this city,’’ Pedroia said. “That’s what hurt so much as a player, that we not only let each other down in the clubhouse but we let the city down.’’

By numerous accounts, manager Terry Francona lost his ability to prevent some of the lax behavior that characterized the collapse. 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.

“It makes me angry that people say these things because I’ve busted my [butt] to be the best manager I can be,’’ Francona said. “I wasn’t terribly successful this year, but I worked harder and spent more time at the ballpark this year than I ever did.’’

Team sources also expressed concern that Francona’s performance may have been affected by his use of pain medication, which he also vehemently denied. Francona said he has taken pain medicine for many years, particularly after multiple knee surgeries. He said he used painkillers after knee surgery last October and used them during the season to relieve the discomfort of doctors draining blood from his knee at least five times.

Francona acknowledged that he consulted the team’s internist, Dr. Larry Ronan, during spring training after one of his children expressed concern about a pill bottle in his hotel room. Francona said the doctor told him he did not have a drug abuse problem. Ronan could not be reached.

“I went and saw the proper people and it was not an issue,’’ Francona said. “It never became an issue, and anybody who knew what was going on knows that.’’

Commitment lacking By all accounts, the 2011 Sox perished from a rash of relatively small indignities. For every player committed to the team’s conditioning program, there was a slacker. For every Sox regular who rose early on the road to take optional batting practice, there were others who never bothered. For every player who dedicated himself to the quest for a championship, there were too many distracted by petty personal issues.

The closer the Sox inched toward September, the more their ill temperaments surfaced.

As Hurricane Irene barreled toward Boston in late August, management proposed moving up the Sunday finale of a weekend series against Oakland so the teams could play a day-night doubleheader either Friday, Aug. 26, or Saturday, Aug. 27. The reasoning seemed sound: the teams would avoid a Sunday rainout and the dilemma of finding a mutual makeup date for teams separated by 2,700 miles.

But numerous Sox players angrily protested. They returned early that Friday from Texas after a demanding stretch in which they had played 14 of 17 games on the road, with additional stops in Minneapolis, Seattle, and Kansas City. The players accused management of caring more about making money than winning, which marked the first time the team’s top executives sensed serious trouble brewing in the clubhouse.

As it turned out, the Sox swept the Saturday doubleheader, but that stormy day marked the beginning of the end for the 2011 team. It was the last time the team would win two games in a row. After getting two days off, the Sox spent the rest of the season playing uninspired, subpar baseball, losing 21 of their final 29 games.

Sox owners soon suspected the team’s poor play was related to lingering resentment over the scheduling dispute, sources said. The owners 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.

But the gestures made no difference. The hapless Sox became the laughingstocks of baseball as they went from holding a two-game divisional lead over the Yankees after the Aug. 27 doubleheader - and a nine-game advantage in the wild-card race over the Rays - to finishing a humiliating third in the AL East.

While the seeds of failure were sown long before the shame of September, other foreboding signs emerged earlier. In springtime, there proved to be regrettable irony in the entire starting rotation - Beckett, Lackey, Lester, Tim Wakefield, and Clay Buchholz - donning Sox uniforms and hamming it up in front of the Green Monster for a video of a country music ditty, “Hell Yeah, I Like Beer.’’

Drinking beer in the Sox clubhouse is permissible. So is ordering take-out chicken and biscuits. Playing video games on one of the clubhouse’s flat-screen televisions is OK, too. But for the Sox pitching trio to do all three during games, rather than show solidarity with their teammates in the dugout, violated an unwritten rule that players support each other, especially in times of crisis.

Sources said Beckett, Lester, and Lackey, who were joined at times by Buchholz, began the practice late in 2010. The pitchers not only continued the routine this year, sources said, but they joined a number of teammates in cutting back on their exercise regimens despite appeals from the team’s strength and conditioning coach Dave Page.

“It’ s hard for a guy making $80,000 to tell a $15 million pitcher he needs to get off his butt and do some work,’’ one source said.

For Beckett, Lester, and Lackey, the consequences were apparent as their body fat appeared to increase and pitching skills eroded. When the team needed them in September, they posted a combined 2-7 record with a 6.45 earned run average, the Sox losing 11 of their 15 starts.

Wakefield also was part of the problem. Amid a seemingly interminable quest for his 200th career victory, he went 1-2 with a 5.25 ERA in September, taxing the bullpen as the Sox lost four of his five starts. The 45-year-old knuckleballer then appeared more interested in himself than the team when he asserted in the final days of the season that the Sox should bring him back in 2012 to pursue the franchise’s all-time record for wins (shared by Roger Clemens and Cy Young at 192).

“I think the fans deserve an opportunity to watch me chase that record,’’ Wakefield told Fox Sports, raising eyebrows on Yawkey Way.

Growing ineffectiveness Francona, who mutually parted with the Sox after the season, has been careful not to criticize individual players. He generally downplayed the pitchers’ drinking in the clubhouse, but he left little doubt that their absence from the dugout reflected a lack of dedication to the team.

Beckett, Lackey, and Lester did not reply to messages left on their phones and with their agents.

“The guys that weren’t down on the bench, I wanted them down on the bench,’’ Francona said last week in a contractual appearance on WEEI. “I wanted them to support their teammates.’’

But Francona’s troubles ran deeper than the three starters. As he completed his eighth year as manager - a historic run in which he guided the Sox to two World Series titles - Francona by his own admission grew less capable of motivating the team. His losing influence with some former leaders came into sharper relief after he convened a closed-door meeting Sept. 7 after a 14-0 victory the previous night to address the clubhouse malaise. His players responded by failing to adjust their attitudes or improve their slipshod performances.

In the face of his team’s corroded spirit, Francona became increasingly ineffectual, according to team sources. Francona was burdened not only by the frustration of coping with the least dedicated group of players of his Boston tenure, but by the likelihood that Sox owners would not exercise his contractual option for 2012.

Francona took strong exception to the suggestion that his problems motivating the players had anything to do with his commitment to the team.

“You never heard any of these complaints when we were going 80-41 [from April 15 to Aug. 27] because there was nothing there,’’ Francona said. “But we absolutely stunk in the last month, so now we have to deal with a lot of this stuff because expectations were so high.’’

While Francona coped with his marital and health issues, he also worried privately about the safety of his son, Nick, and son-in-law, Michael Rice, both of whom are Marine officers serving in Afghanistan.

In the end, only Pedroia and a few other players appeared to remain fully committed to winning, according to team sources. They said the veterans who no longer actively exerted their leadership included the captain, Jason Varitek, who was saddled with injuries and ineffective on the field (he batted .077 in September).

The 39-year-old catcher, in a brief conversation, chastised a reporter for calling him at home and otherwise declined to comment.

Other than Varitek and Wakefield, the only holdovers from Francona’s 2004 championship run were David Ortiz and Kevin Youkilis. Although Ortiz once gathered his teammates in September to try to rally them, his most memorable act off the field in 2011 was bursting into a Francona news conference to profanely complain about a scorer’s decision that could have cost him credit for batting in a run.

Weeks later, Ortiz committed another disrespectful act by suggesting Francona was hurting the team by failing to insert reliever Alfredo Aceves in the starting rotation. Reached for this story, Ortiz said of his role in the collapse, “I don’t feel like talking about it anymore.’’

Nor was Youkilis willing to talk after a second straight injury-marred year in which his production suffered. Youkilis, by nearly all accounts, grew more detached and short-tempered as he tried to play through his ailments. He also factored in a divisive clubhouse issue as the only player last year who publicly criticized Jacoby Ellsbury - several others privately chided the outfielder - when Ellsbury missed all but 18 games with rib injuries.

The episode chilled Ellsbury’s relationship with the team. 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. Ellsbury produced one of the most sensational seasons for a leadoff hitter in franchise history - he also ranked with Pedroia, Aceves, and Jonathan Papelbon among the team’s hardest workers - but he contributed little to the clubhouse culture.

Leadership errors The gift of leadership also eluded Adrian Gonzalez. On the field, Gonzalez’s overall production was superb, but he provided none of the energy or passion off the field that the Sox sorely needed. His most unfortunate act in September was grousing about the Sox schedule, which required the team to play five getaway games on Sunday nights.

“We play too many night games on getaway days and get into places at 4 in the morning,’’ Gonzalez complained. “This has been my toughest season physically because of that.’’

Blaming five stressful nights over a six-month season for a tough year smacked of the self-interest that is uncommon among leaders of championship-caliber teams.

To general manager Theo Epstein, acquiring Gonzalez by trade last winter from San Diego was crucial to solidifying the middle of the Sox lineup. But Epstein struck out in trying to beef up the bullpen, most notably by investing $12 million over two years in Bobby Jenks, so far a bust.

The Sox also suffered from the exorbitant signing of Lackey ($82.5 million over five years), as the righthander logged the worst ERA (6.41) among regular starters in team history.

While Epstein has accepted blame for signing subpar performers such as Lackey and Jenks, the owners share the responsibility of unanimously approving their signings. But Carl Crawford was a different story.

Ownership was divided over Epstein’s push to acquire Crawford as a free agent, sources said. At least one top executive believed Crawford’s skills as a speedy lefthanded-hitting outfielder seemed to duplicate Ellsbury’s. But the owners ultimately agreed to gamble $142 million over seven years on Crawford - a lost wager to date.

The owners also indicated in postseason remarks they were generally unaware of how deeply damaged the Sox had become until after the season. They denied being distracted by their expanding sports conglomerate - from the Sox and NESN to Roush Fenway Racing and the Liverpool Football Club - but they professed to have no knowledge about players drinking during games, among other issues.

In the ugly aftermath, the Sox owners privately vowed to correct any lingering problems. And at least some players were expected to look in the mirror.

“We have to hold ourselves more accountable,’’ Pedroia said. “That has nothing to do with the manager or coaches. On the great major league teams, players police each other, so we’ll get back to doing that.’’

post #3163 of 77571
Quote:
Originally Posted by Proshares

I hope that whole city goes back to the dark ages.  Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)


QFE 

I really miss the 90s.smiley: laugh

post #3164 of 77571
Quote:
Originally Posted by Proshares

I hope that whole city goes back to the dark ages.  Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)


QFE 

I really miss the 90s.smiley: laugh

post #3165 of 77571

Nor was Youkilis willing to talk after a second straight injury-marred year in which his production suffered. Youkilis, by nearly all accounts, grew more detached and short-tempered as he tried to play through his ailments. He also factored in a divisive clubhouse issue as the only player last year who publicly criticized Jacoby Ellsbury - several others privately chided the outfielder - when Ellsbury missed all but 18 games with rib injuries.

The episode chilled Ellsbury’s relationship with the team. 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. Ellsbury produced one of the most sensational seasons for a leadoff hitter in franchise history - he also ranked with Pedroia, Aceves, and Jonathan Papelbon among the team’s hardest workers - but he contributed little to the clubhouse culture.


Who the @%$* cares. He kept his mouth shut, busted his $%%, and produced. If everyone took his approach, the Sox would still be playing.

"Contributed little to clubhouse culture..." smiley: indifferent

God, I hate the media sometimes. Jacoby is gonna be out the door so fast when his contract is up and I don't blame him.

post #3166 of 77571

Nor was Youkilis willing to talk after a second straight injury-marred year in which his production suffered. Youkilis, by nearly all accounts, grew more detached and short-tempered as he tried to play through his ailments. He also factored in a divisive clubhouse issue as the only player last year who publicly criticized Jacoby Ellsbury - several others privately chided the outfielder - when Ellsbury missed all but 18 games with rib injuries.

The episode chilled Ellsbury’s relationship with the team. 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. Ellsbury produced one of the most sensational seasons for a leadoff hitter in franchise history - he also ranked with Pedroia, Aceves, and Jonathan Papelbon among the team’s hardest workers - but he contributed little to the clubhouse culture.


Who the @%$* cares. He kept his mouth shut, busted his $%%, and produced. If everyone took his approach, the Sox would still be playing.

"Contributed little to clubhouse culture..." smiley: indifferent

God, I hate the media sometimes. Jacoby is gonna be out the door so fast when his contract is up and I don't blame him.

post #3167 of 77571
Whole article reeks of upper management spin. Very convenient that, upon reading the article, just about all the clubhouse problems mentioned could easily be blamed on a lack of control and leadership by Francona. Not to mention bringing in the current scapegoat, Carl Crawford, was obviously 100% the work of the GM currently on his way to Chicago. Not surprising, really - Luchino in particular is a shrewd media mind.

LOL @ the Kentucky Fried Pitchers, though. How does that type of behavior fly in any sports locker-room/clubhouse?
post #3168 of 77571
Whole article reeks of upper management spin. Very convenient that, upon reading the article, just about all the clubhouse problems mentioned could easily be blamed on a lack of control and leadership by Francona. Not to mention bringing in the current scapegoat, Carl Crawford, was obviously 100% the work of the GM currently on his way to Chicago. Not surprising, really - Luchino in particular is a shrewd media mind.

LOL @ the Kentucky Fried Pitchers, though. How does that type of behavior fly in any sports locker-room/clubhouse?
post #3169 of 77571
Quote:
Originally Posted by abovelegit1

Whole article reeks of upper management spin. Very convenient that, upon reading the article, just about all the clubhouse problems mentioned could easily be blamed on a lack of control and leadership by Francona. Not to mention bringing in the current scapegoat, Carl Crawford, was obviously 100% the work of the GM currently on his way to Chicago. Not surprising, really - Luchino in particular is a shrewd media mind.

Ding, ding, ding. Also interesting, though, is the lack of response from Red Sox players not named Dustin Pedroia. Obviously, there is a huge culture problem within the Red Sox organization.
post #3170 of 77571
Quote:
Originally Posted by abovelegit1

Whole article reeks of upper management spin. Very convenient that, upon reading the article, just about all the clubhouse problems mentioned could easily be blamed on a lack of control and leadership by Francona. Not to mention bringing in the current scapegoat, Carl Crawford, was obviously 100% the work of the GM currently on his way to Chicago. Not surprising, really - Luchino in particular is a shrewd media mind.

Ding, ding, ding. Also interesting, though, is the lack of response from Red Sox players not named Dustin Pedroia. Obviously, there is a huge culture problem within the Red Sox organization.
post #3171 of 77571

Pitchers Hooked On Beer, Fried Chicken, And Video Games! Francona On Pills! The Boston Globe’s Version Of The 2011 Red Sox Collapse

It took two weeks, but the

Boston Globe has produced the definitive grisly autopsy of the 2011 Boston Red Sox meltdown, and it's lurid, all right. (You'll recall that the team collapsed in epic fashion and missed the playoffs.) The Globe's story is full of drink and drugs and player grousing, but the story's existence and its tone tell us more, maybe, about why the Red Sox failed. Ownership and management are lashing out anonymously at the players and Terry Francona for one wretched month, and the Globe is their faithful stenographer.

Here are some of the charges within the piece:

Josh Beckett, Jon Lester, and John Lackey spent all September eating biscuits and fried chicken, drinking beer, and playing video games in the clubhouse during games. Writes the Globe's Bob Hohler, the trio also "joined a number of teammates in cutting back on their exercise regimens despite appeals from the team's strength and conditioning coach Dave Page." Never mind that the 2004 Red Sox—who are held up in the piece as a paragon of achievement, when the 2007 team isn't mentioned—were lauded for their not-so-svelte ways.

Terry Francona melted down because of his marriage and a painkiller addiction. Tito, who's since been fired, apparently spent all season living in a hotel after separating from his wife of 30 years. All along, he was taking pain medication to recover from an October 2010 knee surgery. Francona told the Globe that he did not have a painkiller addiction, per a diagnosis by the Red Sox's team doctor. The story also blames Francona for panicking because the Red Sox might not pick up his contract option for 2012. (The piece speaks of "his commitment to the team," referring to his future with Boston, even though management held the contract option.)

The players were angry because management rescheduled a doubleheader in advance of Hurricane Irene, the Globe says. The players were tired from a busy August, and wanted time to rest. Ownership wanted to avoid a potential makeup game. According to the Globe, the Sox attempted to fix things by giving all the players fancy headphones and inviting them out on John Henry's yacht. The Globe story pinpoints the doubleheader—which the Sox swept—as the beginning of the team's demise, even though the playoff-bound Yankees seemed to survive their doubleheader on the same date.

All the leaders but Dustin Pedroia quit leading. The Globe chastises David Ortiz and Jason Varitek, both of whom declined to comment for its story. The paper also attacks Tim Wakefield for chasing his 200th win—he "appeared more interested in himself than the team"—toward season's end. Kevin Youkilis also tired of leading the team, the story claims, as he played through injuries even though golden boy Jacoby Ellsbury hadn't, the prior season. Infielder Jed Lowrie was Ellsbury's only friend.

Ownership was angry that GM Theo Epstein splurged on Carl Crawford. The speedy left fielder came over from Tampa Bay as the highest-paid outfielder in history. He promptly hit .255/.289/.405 and stole only 18 bases. Unlike other Sox signings, the Crawford deal divided ownership, primarily because the Red Sox already had a "speedy lefthanded-hitting outfielder" in Ellsbury. Now its architect is skipping town and saddling the Sox with six grim years of Carlito.

And from this piece, we can see why Tito and Theo might be glad to leave. The anonymous sources—presumably ownership—it quotes are vengeful, disappointed in players for airing grievances about grueling seasons, complaints one would hear in any other locker room. Between the lines, the owners are alleging the Sox tanked the season because they were angry about having to play a doubleheader, and the horndog manager was too zonked out on pain medication to change anything. Uh-huh. The calamity that befell the 2011 Sox didn't come from God, as Adrian Gonzalez suggested. No, he should have looked aimed his eyes a little lower, at the owner's box.


 

What’s The Most Dishonest Sentence In The Boston Globe’s Red Sox Postmortem?

There are so many nutty revelations in the Red Sox's

self-serving/self-defeating exercise in blame and vengeance—and the revelations are so thoroughly unexamined by the Boston Globe reporters who wrote them down—you might think it would be hard to pick out the most ridiculous. The attacks on Adrian Gonzalez (.338/.410/.548) and Jacoby Ellsbury (.321/.376/.552) for their inadequate intangibles? The overdetermined tales of year-long slackness and sloppiness from a team that went 20-6 in July? The failure to notice that the whole litany of wrongdoing adds up to less misbehavior than Manny Ramirez used to fit into a single seventh-inning stretch, back in the golden days of Boston Baseball Played Right?

But the winner, the point at which the Globe simply turned off its brain and let someone dictate an irrational grudge straight onto the page, is this:

Other than [Jason] Varitek and [Tim] Wakefield, the only holdovers from Francona's 2004 championship run were David Ortiz and Kevin Youkilis.


Yes, the Boston Red Sox had lost that gritty spirit that wins a World Series. Except for, you know, the players who were holdovers from Terry Francona's 2007 championship run: Ortiz, Youkilis, Varitek, Wakefield, Ellsbury, Dustin Pedroia, J.D. Drew, Clay Buchholz, Josh Beckett, Jon Lester, Jonathan Papelbon, Hideki Okajima, and Daisuke Matsuzaka.

The reason there aren't more 2004 heroes on the 2011 Red Sox roster is that the average 2004 Red Sox player would have been 37.4 years old this season. Does the Globe believe that 39-year-old Kevin "Cowboy Up" Millar would have provided more inspiration and leadership down the stretch than the playoff-untested Gonzalez did? Or is it just helping some anonymous owner or executive try to spin one month of failure into a fable of a seven-year decline?


post #3172 of 77571

Pitchers Hooked On Beer, Fried Chicken, And Video Games! Francona On Pills! The Boston Globe’s Version Of The 2011 Red Sox Collapse

It took two weeks, but the

Boston Globe has produced the definitive grisly autopsy of the 2011 Boston Red Sox meltdown, and it's lurid, all right. (You'll recall that the team collapsed in epic fashion and missed the playoffs.) The Globe's story is full of drink and drugs and player grousing, but the story's existence and its tone tell us more, maybe, about why the Red Sox failed. Ownership and management are lashing out anonymously at the players and Terry Francona for one wretched month, and the Globe is their faithful stenographer.

Here are some of the charges within the piece:

Josh Beckett, Jon Lester, and John Lackey spent all September eating biscuits and fried chicken, drinking beer, and playing video games in the clubhouse during games. Writes the Globe's Bob Hohler, the trio also "joined a number of teammates in cutting back on their exercise regimens despite appeals from the team's strength and conditioning coach Dave Page." Never mind that the 2004 Red Sox—who are held up in the piece as a paragon of achievement, when the 2007 team isn't mentioned—were lauded for their not-so-svelte ways.

Terry Francona melted down because of his marriage and a painkiller addiction. Tito, who's since been fired, apparently spent all season living in a hotel after separating from his wife of 30 years. All along, he was taking pain medication to recover from an October 2010 knee surgery. Francona told the Globe that he did not have a painkiller addiction, per a diagnosis by the Red Sox's team doctor. The story also blames Francona for panicking because the Red Sox might not pick up his contract option for 2012. (The piece speaks of "his commitment to the team," referring to his future with Boston, even though management held the contract option.)

The players were angry because management rescheduled a doubleheader in advance of Hurricane Irene, the Globe says. The players were tired from a busy August, and wanted time to rest. Ownership wanted to avoid a potential makeup game. According to the Globe, the Sox attempted to fix things by giving all the players fancy headphones and inviting them out on John Henry's yacht. The Globe story pinpoints the doubleheader—which the Sox swept—as the beginning of the team's demise, even though the playoff-bound Yankees seemed to survive their doubleheader on the same date.

All the leaders but Dustin Pedroia quit leading. The Globe chastises David Ortiz and Jason Varitek, both of whom declined to comment for its story. The paper also attacks Tim Wakefield for chasing his 200th win—he "appeared more interested in himself than the team"—toward season's end. Kevin Youkilis also tired of leading the team, the story claims, as he played through injuries even though golden boy Jacoby Ellsbury hadn't, the prior season. Infielder Jed Lowrie was Ellsbury's only friend.

Ownership was angry that GM Theo Epstein splurged on Carl Crawford. The speedy left fielder came over from Tampa Bay as the highest-paid outfielder in history. He promptly hit .255/.289/.405 and stole only 18 bases. Unlike other Sox signings, the Crawford deal divided ownership, primarily because the Red Sox already had a "speedy lefthanded-hitting outfielder" in Ellsbury. Now its architect is skipping town and saddling the Sox with six grim years of Carlito.

And from this piece, we can see why Tito and Theo might be glad to leave. The anonymous sources—presumably ownership—it quotes are vengeful, disappointed in players for airing grievances about grueling seasons, complaints one would hear in any other locker room. Between the lines, the owners are alleging the Sox tanked the season because they were angry about having to play a doubleheader, and the horndog manager was too zonked out on pain medication to change anything. Uh-huh. The calamity that befell the 2011 Sox didn't come from God, as Adrian Gonzalez suggested. No, he should have looked aimed his eyes a little lower, at the owner's box.


 

What’s The Most Dishonest Sentence In The Boston Globe’s Red Sox Postmortem?

There are so many nutty revelations in the Red Sox's

self-serving/self-defeating exercise in blame and vengeance—and the revelations are so thoroughly unexamined by the Boston Globe reporters who wrote them down—you might think it would be hard to pick out the most ridiculous. The attacks on Adrian Gonzalez (.338/.410/.548) and Jacoby Ellsbury (.321/.376/.552) for their inadequate intangibles? The overdetermined tales of year-long slackness and sloppiness from a team that went 20-6 in July? The failure to notice that the whole litany of wrongdoing adds up to less misbehavior than Manny Ramirez used to fit into a single seventh-inning stretch, back in the golden days of Boston Baseball Played Right?

But the winner, the point at which the Globe simply turned off its brain and let someone dictate an irrational grudge straight onto the page, is this:

Other than [Jason] Varitek and [Tim] Wakefield, the only holdovers from Francona's 2004 championship run were David Ortiz and Kevin Youkilis.


Yes, the Boston Red Sox had lost that gritty spirit that wins a World Series. Except for, you know, the players who were holdovers from Terry Francona's 2007 championship run: Ortiz, Youkilis, Varitek, Wakefield, Ellsbury, Dustin Pedroia, J.D. Drew, Clay Buchholz, Josh Beckett, Jon Lester, Jonathan Papelbon, Hideki Okajima, and Daisuke Matsuzaka.

The reason there aren't more 2004 heroes on the 2011 Red Sox roster is that the average 2004 Red Sox player would have been 37.4 years old this season. Does the Globe believe that 39-year-old Kevin "Cowboy Up" Millar would have provided more inspiration and leadership down the stretch than the playoff-untested Gonzalez did? Or is it just helping some anonymous owner or executive try to spin one month of failure into a fable of a seven-year decline?


post #3173 of 77571
It really did look like a men's softball league team by the end of the year in terms of conditioning.
post #3174 of 77571
It really did look like a men's softball league team by the end of the year in terms of conditioning.
post #3175 of 77571

The Second-Dumbest Sentence From The Boston Globe’s Red Sox Postmortem

Scocca flagged

one sentence earlier today from the Boston Globe's story. Here's the part that gets me:

The gift of leadership also eluded Adrian Gonzalez. On the field, Gonzalez's overall production was superb, but he provided none of the energy or passion off the field that the Sox sorely needed. His most unfortunate act in September was grousing about the Sox schedule, which required the team to play five getaway games on Sunday nights.

"We play too many night games on getaway days and get into places at 4 in the morning," Gonzalez complained. "This has been my toughest season physically because of that."

Blaming five stressful nights over a six-month season for a tough year smacked of the self-interest that is uncommon among leaders of championship-caliber teams.


I just love that last sentence. That's a clown car of a sentence. It manages to be ignorant and smarmy and airily mean-spirited all at once. "Uncommon"? The leader of the last two World Series-winning Red Sox teams was a walking monument to self-interest.

Besides, is it really an outrageous lack of leadership to suggest, in response to a reporter's question, that a quirk of the schedule might have had something to do with the Red Sox's falling down a well in September? Is this explanation any less plausible than the notion that the Red Sox lost 21 of their last 29 because of fried takeout? So Gonzalez isn't manfully living up to the toy morality of the press box. The guy hit .318/.455/.523 the last month of the season. What the hell is he supposed to say, anyway? "You're right, fellas—the rest of the guys stank up all of Kenmore Square because of various deficiencies in their personality and my overall lack of bounding and hand-clapping in the clubhouse"?


post #3176 of 77571

The Second-Dumbest Sentence From The Boston Globe’s Red Sox Postmortem

Scocca flagged

one sentence earlier today from the Boston Globe's story. Here's the part that gets me:

The gift of leadership also eluded Adrian Gonzalez. On the field, Gonzalez's overall production was superb, but he provided none of the energy or passion off the field that the Sox sorely needed. His most unfortunate act in September was grousing about the Sox schedule, which required the team to play five getaway games on Sunday nights.

"We play too many night games on getaway days and get into places at 4 in the morning," Gonzalez complained. "This has been my toughest season physically because of that."

Blaming five stressful nights over a six-month season for a tough year smacked of the self-interest that is uncommon among leaders of championship-caliber teams.


I just love that last sentence. That's a clown car of a sentence. It manages to be ignorant and smarmy and airily mean-spirited all at once. "Uncommon"? The leader of the last two World Series-winning Red Sox teams was a walking monument to self-interest.

Besides, is it really an outrageous lack of leadership to suggest, in response to a reporter's question, that a quirk of the schedule might have had something to do with the Red Sox's falling down a well in September? Is this explanation any less plausible than the notion that the Red Sox lost 21 of their last 29 because of fried takeout? So Gonzalez isn't manfully living up to the toy morality of the press box. The guy hit .318/.455/.523 the last month of the season. What the hell is he supposed to say, anyway? "You're right, fellas—the rest of the guys stank up all of Kenmore Square because of various deficiencies in their personality and my overall lack of bounding and hand-clapping in the clubhouse"?


post #3177 of 77571
Astros to the AL West?
post #3178 of 77571
Astros to the AL West?
post #3179 of 77571
So Texas has played 9 playoff games, right?

How many of them were played on the day they were originally scheduled for, on time, w/ no delays or extra innings?

They GOTTA be exhausted. laugh.gif

"So we are playing today? Cool. Wait... we're gonna finish the game tomorrow? Cool. What's that? Off the field? Wait for the rain? Cool. Alright, back on the field? Cool. Wait... back off the field? Cool. So no day off tomorrow, because we're playing today's regularly scheduled game tomorrow since we finished yesterday's game today? Cool. Hmmm, still tied after 9? Cool. So tied up after 9 innings again? Cool.

Gonna get to the World Series mentally drained. laugh.gif
4L 8O 15S16 T23 !42
L. A. A N G E L S, L. A. L A K E R S, U K W I L D C A T S, L. A. R A M S, L. A. S P A R K S.
"This game is in the refrigerator! The door is closed, the lights are out, the eggs...
Reply
4L 8O 15S16 T23 !42
L. A. A N G E L S, L. A. L A K E R S, U K W I L D C A T S, L. A. R A M S, L. A. S P A R K S.
"This game is in the refrigerator! The door is closed, the lights are out, the eggs...
Reply
post #3180 of 77571
So Texas has played 9 playoff games, right?

How many of them were played on the day they were originally scheduled for, on time, w/ no delays or extra innings?

They GOTTA be exhausted. laugh.gif

"So we are playing today? Cool. Wait... we're gonna finish the game tomorrow? Cool. What's that? Off the field? Wait for the rain? Cool. Alright, back on the field? Cool. Wait... back off the field? Cool. So no day off tomorrow, because we're playing today's regularly scheduled game tomorrow since we finished yesterday's game today? Cool. Hmmm, still tied after 9? Cool. So tied up after 9 innings again? Cool.

Gonna get to the World Series mentally drained. laugh.gif
4L 8O 15S16 T23 !42
L. A. A N G E L S, L. A. L A K E R S, U K W I L D C A T S, L. A. R A M S, L. A. S P A R K S.
"This game is in the refrigerator! The door is closed, the lights are out, the eggs...
Reply
4L 8O 15S16 T23 !42
L. A. A N G E L S, L. A. L A K E R S, U K W I L D C A T S, L. A. R A M S, L. A. S P A R K S.
"This game is in the refrigerator! The door is closed, the lights are out, the eggs...
Reply
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