Saturday, August 11, 2012

Dysfunctional Red Sox falling apart again

The Red Sox have been known to be a dysfunctional team at times, but this really takes the cake. Or rather, the beer.

The Red Sox have been accused of giving up on their baseball season as they linger near the bottom of the American League East division. One piece of evidence, according to a Boston columnist, was the sight of the injured John Lackey double fisting beers after a tough loss. The Boston media is notoriously bitchy, but they may have a point here.

Technically, Lackey didn’t break any rules by having a beer in the road clubhouse, but that really isn’t the issue. It’s just a poor decision by a guy who, along with other teammates, started the chicken-and-beer controversy last year, one that highlighted the clubhouse dysfunction that cost the Saux a playoff berth. You would think the Red Sox players would go out of their way to avoid any behavior that might remind people of last year’s collapse. Apparently not.

I definitely appreciate the instinct of Lackey’s teammates to defend him from what they see as unfair and unnecessarily harsh criticism. They pointed out his habit of picking up meal and cab bills for his less fortunate teammates. I bet his wife doesn’t think he is such a great guy, with Lackey filing for divorce while she was battling breast cancer. I wonder if he was as generous with her in the divorce proceedings as he is with his teammates.

The fact that the Red Sox are struggling badly this year and still a dysfunctional mess proves that last year’s collapse wasn’t all Terry Francona’s fault, despite the media hit the Saux management put out on him after he left the team. One thing you could say about Francona is that the Red Sox managed to be a more professional team during most of his tenure, which helped them win the World Series not once, but twice, finally besting the New York Yankees and breaking the curse.

Bobby Valentine was hired to be a law-and-order manager after last year’s late-season shenanigans. Even though Lackey didn’t violate Valentine’s rules, he clearly isn’t buying into the program. Neither are some of the other Saux players, prompting that vote of confidence from the Red Sox hierarchy trying to stave off another controversy.

As the old saying goes, you never know what you have until it’s gone. Francona is probably feeling some vindication from the safety of the ESPN booth (if it was me, I’d be laughing my ass off). How much do you want to bet Valentine wants to trade jobs with him again? But I doubt even Francona could fix this mess or even want to try.

Thanks to Keith Allison via Wikipedia for the John Lackey photo. 

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