Today brings to a merciful end the 2012 experiment of the hapless, useless organization known as the Boston Red Sox.
Darth Vader Steinbrenner-owned Yankees can say of Obi-One Henry Group, “Now their failure is complete.”
The Red Sox are an organization that has shown zero fundamental change from the glorious days of Yawkee Ownership. Red Sox culture: front office allows the clubhouse to run the show; the clubhouse, manager allows the players to run the show. The fans do not hold the correct people accountable at the correct time and they are too easily influenced by the media. The media is largely focused on the wrong priorities. The only journalists I’ve really heard focus on the correct issues at the correct time in the right way – articulate, intelligent, at the right volume and tone – are on Sports Hub 98.5, particularly Felger and Mazz. Add to that the writing of Tony Mazz in the Globe and anything that Peter Gammons writes, although without recalling exactly all this season’s content I feel Gammons can tend towards more sympathy and subjective p.o.v. instead of what I personally prefer – impartial, emotionally detached analysis. But, hey, that’s just me.
We are the fan base. We deserve better. The fans do not know how to revere the players when they are our heroes and hold them accountable instead of letting them off the hook as a whole. We pick at certain personalities and relentlessly witch hunt in the truest New England puritanical tradition. The media does not know how to allow players to be human and make mistakes ( like growing old or not be perfect with their replies to questions). I’m not talking about incidents like Pedroia saying “that’s not how we do things in Boston,” because that was exactly what the fans and the media needed to wake the F up and actually understand how poorly the organization flows from the top down. Equally, the vilifying of Beckett, while a tad excessive, was necessary like the way the media jumped on a soured Garciaparra c. 2004. I’m talking about the “what have you done for me lately?” mentality that turns on heroes in Boston instead of valuing them especially at the end of their time in Boston. Larry Bird was, at the end, sort of mistreated for being injured and growing old. I wonder when Tom Brady is out of gas if the media will recall just how important Tom Brady has been to New England folklore before they trash him and then attempt to kiss and make up.
These are, of course, not Red Sox relevant or Yawkee Way examples. I do wonder why no one has really along the way taken Theo Epstein to task more rigorously and more precisely on his “We aim to be competitive year-in-year-out to vie for World Series.” That is a rough quote but it is close enough. Because, until Theo started to head for the door, no one said “Hey, wait. What the hell is going on?” Yes, we picked apart certain transactions like the über-weakness perennially at shortstop. But, what about the fact that the team never truly dug in for the division and missed the playoffs a few times and did not actually compete year-in-year-out. With the exception of last year’s grand collapse, the prior missed playoff years were given passes as “tough, injury-riddled years.” Meanwhile, the Yankees make the playoffs year after year. 12 out of 15 years Division Champs if they win tonight!
This year, the team has no intrinsic self-respect or self-worth to stand up and make a stand, at least in spirit, to ruin the Yankees post-season bid. Instead, like the entire 2012 baseball campaign, the Red Sox have rolled over and played dead. Embarrassing. I can never imagine the current Patriots, Celtics or Bruins cultures doing the same.
Nothing has changed in my lifetime except for a couple of rings. Big deal. Even in all these years since 2003, the organization has NEVER EVER valued winning the AL EAST. I hold the ownership accountable and this group has been possessed by the Yawkee way instead of aspiring to the Yankee way.
The ownership has zero accountability to anyone and zero loyalty. The one manager who clearly was responsible for something to help win two World Series in three years was stabbed in the back on the way out.
And, further, the MLBPA or whatever the Players’ Union is has way too much power. The Red Sox in the last several years have become an overpriced rehab center, enabled by the contracts at the Major League level. Baseball players have no business as a whole making obscene amounts of guaranteed dollars. This union is an embarrassment to professional labor unions and resembles public unions that, say, expect 100% publicly funded benefits and pension and dare to strike in the midst of a winter freeze (See NYC MTA Local c. 2005, December)
The Boston Red Sox of 2012 exemplify across the board all that is wrong in American professional sports.
I, for one, am thrilled that the Baltimore Orioles stepped up to make the dream of what true team competition is all about, what true dignity and honor in the game should be.
I hope the Orioles win this year’s World Series! If not, I’m rooting for Texas, a tradition in excellence now for several years under management and coaches. The Nationals, The A’s, the Giants and yes, even the Evil Empire, all exemplify what baseball and sports ought be. The Red Sox never truly have and may never in my lifetime. If we ever have a top-down approach with media and fans who come together in a way that both honors, roots for and holds accountable our professional baseball team, I’d be stunned. But, it starts with the ownership. The Patriots and Celtics have shown us that in recent years. The Bruins got the memo. Maybe it was lost on the Red Sox brass somewhere between Hollywood and Liverpool.
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