September 2011


... Say it ain't so.

I suppose it stands to reason that there would be casualties in the wake of the Red Sox’ stunning loss to Baltimore on Wednesday night.

But the thought of Terry Francona being one of them makes me sick.

In the region’s obsession to unfairly point every loss to one singular entity — Mike Torrez, Bill Buckner, Grady Little — fans, writers and talk show hosts have thrown out every name on the roster, hoping one of them sticks.

The manager of an underperforming bunch, it’s no surprise that there are those calling for Francona’s head. But does the fact that pitchers stopped pitching and hitters stop hitting fall on him?

Has the job burned him? It’s possible. He’s had to endure quite a bit in his eight seasons leading the team — 2004 playoff drama, Manny Ramirez, a cascade of injuries in 2006 and 2010, a number of overpaid, underperforming pitchers, all without mention of what it’s like to have to answer to a group as entitled and arrogant as the Red Sox press corps and fan base. (more…)

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“This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper

— T.S. Elliot, “The Hollow Men”

With all due respect to the amazing Mr. Elliot, on Wednesday night, the Boston Red Sox found a way to end the world with both.

As Jonathan Papelbon’s pitch flaired back into left field, bringing the winning run across for the Orioles, the slow September march to death reached its terminal phase, slowly and tragically, like some tormented screenplay, the demented wet dream of a jealous fan. (more…)

I went to several Pawtucket Red Sox games this summer, a product of their being the top farm team for my favorite club, sitting half an hour up the road and offering a $7 general admission ticket.

I saw six games with the up-and-coming Ryan Lavarnway in the lineup, either behind the plate or as the designated hitter. Hit hit at least one home run in each of those games, including one with two yard shots and another that put the PawSox ahead in the eight inning of a game that saw them clinch the International League’s North division.

Needless to say, I quickly became a Ryan Lavarnway fan. (more…)

Jacoby Ellsbury has had a season to remember, even if the Red Sox aren't.

When I returned to my unseasonably hot apartment last night, the Red Sox were locked into an extra-inning affair with the New York Yankees, the second half of a doubleheader courtesy of Friday’s rain. With a loss, they would be tied with the Tampa Bay Rays in the race for the American League wild card, unthinkable just three weeks ago, when the Sox, along with the Yankees and Philadelphia Phillies, were the titans of baseball.

Obviously, Red Sox fans are not pleased. As a group, they’re looking for answers. But too many are just looking for someone to blame. Is it starting pitching? Does Theo Epstein need to be fired? What about Terry Francona?

Others are casting blanket statements around, calling this entire team unlikeable and flawed from the start. Certain Boston columnists (who won’t get the benefit of a link in this space) are saying that, should the Red Sox manage to advance to the playoffs, they won’t deserve their slot.

It’s a lot of passion mixed with hot air, arrogance and entitlement. And it really demonstrates how losing can bring out the worst in a fan base. (more…)