Required Reading to Get Back to Reality

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    Required Reading to Get Back to Reality

    http://www.bostonherald.com/sports/columnists/view.bg?articleid=1374196&srvc=sports&position=recent
     
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    Re: Required Reading to Get Back to Reality

    Excerpt:

    There’s always a writer. There’s always an audience. So the bridge can always be built. And it will be crossed by the eager even if the structure of it is flimsy.

    The Boston Globe wrote an extensive obituary on the Red Sox demise. The details were jarring and messy. On days they didn’t start, three of the pitchers were in the clubhouse partaking in video games, beer and fried chicken during play. The manager was reportedly popping pain pills. Selfish millionaires didn’t care! Leader lost control! This story went from local to national very quickly, spreading too fast to be contained, audience crossing the bridge as fast as it could be erected. As with all writing, it was the details that made the story pop. Fried chicken. Beer. Video games. Pills.

    Never mind that Boston manager Terry Francona has two kids in Afghanistan. Or that he’s going through a divorce. Or that he’s had nearly 20 surgeries on his knees -- plus one on his back because he couldn’t feel his arms. Or that he was captaining baseball’s Titanic. Pills.

     
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    Re: Required Reading to Get Back to Reality

    Excerpt:

    But first you need the collapse, and the cruel vagaries of so-very-random baseball made that possible. One strike away. That’s how close the Red Sox were to this story never seeing light. But once you have the collapse, you can do anything you want with it as a writer. When Boston loses, fried chicken and beer and pills become intangible symbols, just as the symbol for loose unity on the champion Red Sox with many of these same players was a team of self-proclaimed idiots who were actually doing shots of Jack Daniel’s before playoff World Series games.

    Again, though, correlation is not causation. I always prefer tangible explanations for sports results to intangible ones, but here’s where this gets tricky: I don’t know why the Red Sox collapsed. Neither do you. Neither do they. But "I don’t know" isn’t an acceptable answer in sports. Analysts aren’t paid for "I don’t know." Fans don’t accept "I don’t know." Coaches get fired for "I don’t know." Even though life is filled with "I don’t know." We want reasons, explanations, theories. I’d go tangible here. Boston’s starting pitchers had an ERA close to 8.00 in September. So I’d stand over on this side yelling "Pitching!" as the bridge shakes from the weight of all the people running over toward the fried chicken and beer and selfishness and laziness and entitlement. But the problem with my argument is that the guys doing the poor pitching were the ones with beer on their breath and grease on their hands.

     
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    Re: Required Reading to Get Back to Reality

    Josh Beckett? Here’s what he did in a July and August when he was also eating fried chicken and drinking beer and playing video games on days he didn’t start:

    Eight innings, one run, Boston win.

    Five innings, three runs, Boston win.

    Eight innings, one hit, one run, no decision.

    Seven innings, one run, Boston win.

    Seven innings, three earned runs, Boston loss.

    Six innings, two runs, Boston win.

    Six innings, one run, Boston win.

    Five innings, five runs, Boston loss.

    Seven innings, three runs, Boston win.

    Six innings, one run, Boston win.

    Seven innings, four runs, Boston win.

    Then he was rolling along in Toronto on Sept. 5, striking out six and allowing no runs in 3 2/3, when he stepped incorrectly on the mound. He hurt himself, left the game and missed two weeks.

     
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    Re: Required Reading to Get Back to Reality

    The Globe story certainly stretched to paint the picture of selfishness, entitlement and lack of leadership in a Red Sox [team stats] clubhouse that was one strike away from avoiding all that kind of criticism. But I’ve always thought baseball is pretty immune to those things, an individual sport masquerading as a team sport. Even if you had 25 of the most selfish guys in the world, interested only in themselves, how much tangible difference would it make? The hitter is up there alone, motivated by personal pride, money, love of women, ego, whatever. The pitcher, too. Selfishly, they can be great, for themselves, individually and, if they succeed, so too will the team. So a selfish guy doesn’t bunt or move a runner over? The best hitters are never asked to do those things anyway. Fielders are going to try to get to the ball, for themselves if not for the pitcher and team harmony. Maybe that work environment would stink, but it wouldn’t matter if all the selfish guys were able to hit .350.

    And it makes me wonder as this team lets its manager and GM go and falls apart in the sports scandal of the week:

    If you think the reason the Red Sox collapsed is because a bunch of lazy millionaires got entitled and stopped caring, if you’ve crossed the bridge the writer built for you, do you believe that because it is actually so?

    Or because it is just what you’d like to believe?

     
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    Re: Required Reading to Get Back to Reality

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    Re: Required Reading to Get Back to Reality

    The big take-away from this pathetic story should be, "people get fired for I don't know."  This guy adds NOTHING TO THE DIALOGUE!  He should fire himself from covering this collapse!  He knows nothing!!!!  The big pitcher looking from outside seems easy to look at objectively!  Seeing the thousands of little symptoms of a sick team all year long fleshes out what really happened here!

    What he should have said, which I think most smart baseball fans believe, is that the totality of all these factors played a part in this collapse!  NO ONE factor, such as the starting pitchers drinking beer & eating chicken CAUSED THE COLLAPSE!  HOWEVER!!!!!!!  All of these 'issues' were symptoms of a sick team!!!!  

    The symptoms were clear from day 1 spring training.  Many guys came into camp NOT READY TO PLAY.  It was particularly evident with the pitching.  I SAID THE SAME THING BACK IN SPRING TRAINING......  "that this was a leadership thing!  That these guys were allowed to come in to ST not ready to go!  This was the second ST in a row where this was CLEARLY THE CASE!!!!  BUT, all we got in BOTH ST's was 'the ball is really coming out of his hand well,' and 'he's getting his important work in & dusting off his pitches.'  THE FACT IS........................... many of the Boston Red Sox writers need to look themselves in the mirror & ask how they missed just how flawed THEIR 'best pitching staff in the MLB' was????  A neophyte Red Sox fan could have told you that Dice-K & Lackey were next to useless, if not a HUGE DRAG on this team, well before the start of Spring Training.  YET......  All we heard, and more importantly, all these pitchers heard was how incredible they were!  MOST of the starting pitchers came into the season NOT READY TO GO!!!    SORRY!!!!!!!!!!!!!   BUT, that's on Tito from day 1!
    I love Tito, but he had CLEARLY LET THESE GUYS GET AWAY FROM HIM as far back as Spring Training.  I don't like the personal stuff coming out about his 'problems,' but that does not excuse him from DOING HIS JOB!  I will defend him on criticism for his personal issues, but not for his MANAGEMENT, or lack there of, of this team!  Manhy of the boys behind the pitchers were not ready to go either!

    The inmates were running the asylum!!!!!  Tito let it happen, or was ineffective in bringing this TEAM together!  THIS IN NO WAY EXCUSES THE PLAYERS, who did not come in ready, stay in shape, diligently work on their game, keep their heads in the game, take care of the little 'small ball' issues, work on mental mistakes, or ignore their manager!!!!!   The pitching was obviously the #1 issue in the collapse! BUT..... how many times, ALL THROUGH THE SEASON, did we see guys making BRAIN DEAD inexcusable decisions on the basepaths?????  This is a DISCIPLINE THING!!!!!! Again, WHOSE RESPONSIBILITY IS IT TO INSTILL DISCIPLINE IN A TEAM?????  Again, that's on Tito!!!! This team made more MENTAL ERRORS than any team I have ever seen!!!!! That exposes a lack of leadership & DISCIPLINE ! Leadership on a team starts & ends with the manager!!!! Is that to say that I'm not disgusted with these guys for letting Tito down???? Absolutely not!  There was NO REAL LEADERSHIP in the clubhouse either!  The 'LEADERS' in the clubhouse disappeared!  THEY, also let this team down!!!!  THEY, every one of them, should be ashamed of letting Tito & their teammates down!!!!   

    What this, and most, sports writers  keep missing is......  that this collapse was not caused by any one thing, i.e. the beer & chicken!!!!  These, & a multitude of other anecdotes about team dysfunction, feelings of entitlement, b it ching about the schedule, not staying in shape, not listening to management, seemingly no leadership, lack of commitment, guys sitting out for most of the season with nebulous injuries (i.e. JD Drew), crazy news conference antics (i.e. Papi), pitchers constantly going down with injuries, & the constant and pervasive mental errors between the lines (i.e. base running errors, fielding errors, throwing errors, zero ability to play small ball, pitchers not covering their position, etc. etc. etc.)   WERE ALL SYMPTOMS OF A TEAM IN REAL TROUBLE! A TEAM WITH ABSOLUTELY ZERO DISCIPLINE!!! A TEAM THAT HAD NO FOUNDATION TO FALL BACK ON WHEN THE GOING GOT TOUGH!  

    ANY WAY YOU SLICE IT.......  That was Tito's JOB!!!  I LOVE THE GUY, & I defended him for most of the season, but the collapse happened due to a lack of leadership & discipline!  You can not have one without the other!  The players are EQUALLY RESPONSIBLE for taking advantage of the situation!

    These truths are self evident!!!!!!  Arguing to the contrary, is simply self delusional! For anyone stupid enough to think that the chicken & beer was a causal factor rather than a symptom of a larger problem that was ALLOWED TO CONTINUE BY MANAGEMENT is simply fooling themselves. This was a complete team collapse, that did not just mysteriously happen! There were pockets of guys who made sure they took care of their PERSONAL GAME, but the team had truly gone to s h i t!

    I will always LOVE TITO!  BUT he had to move on.  The personal stuff leaked about him is deplorable, but still he had to go!!!!  The guys who let him down & tuned him out should forever feel that shame!  Theo was also ready to move on!  Those who keep defending him & deflecting ANY BLAME, claiming that he should have stayed, are simply delusional! I love the guy, but a CHANGE is absolutely necessary to move this team forward!!!! It is silly to argue otherwise!

    Still, this TEAM must move on!!!!  A few guys must go!

    Can't wait for next year!   :)
     
     
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    Re: Required Reading to Get Back to Reality

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    Re: Required Reading to Get Back to Reality

    "a clubhouse that was one strike away from avoiding all that kind of criticism."

    Would the Red Sox have been immune from criticism had the Sox captured the Wild Card berth, finishing in second place six games behind the Yankees with an 8-19 record in September?
     
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    Re: Required Reading to Get Back to Reality

    p.s.

    It's profoundly insulting that THIS WRITER thinks Boston fans are SO STUPID as to think that we actually believe that there was "ONLY ONE BRIDGE" leading to this collapse!  OR....  that we will simply "cross any bridge" de jour.  That Red Sox fans are like dogs chasing whatever bone is thrown for them????  We'll gnaw the hell out of it, then run after the next one thrown????

    SORRY PAL!  Most Red Sox fans are far more sophisticated than to lap up simple one dimensional answers.  Accepting any given premise, is not mutually exclusive of other factors!  Perhaps we should preface for you on any given argument on a particular causal factor, "THAT WE KNOW IT'S NOT THIS SIMPLE.   That there were MANY FACTORS AT PLAY!!!!"  

    I hope this simple writer, with his simplistic characterization of Red Sox Fans, can keep up with my multi-layered analysis???? 

    p.p.s.

    To the self serving & self flagellatingRed Sox Fans, who clearly think they are so much more refined than the average knuckle dragging Southie....................... Whose constant refrain is, "SEE!  SEE why nobody wants to come to Boston to play!  It's because we're too mean!  We're too critical! We eat our young! We say mean things & it drags our guys down! BUT I'm not like that! I love this team long time! I say only nice things! I'm sophisticated & will never speak ill of my team." To those who feign self flagellation simply as a vehicle to prop themselves up a a RS sophisticate???????? Cut the s h i t!  Blow it out yure arsss!  :)   People are angry, & they're venting! We'll get over this & be ready to jump on board come February!!!!!!! WE are RS Nation! :) We don't quit on this team! We are this team!
     
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    Re: Required Reading to Get Back to Reality

    Perhaps this writer can ask President Obama to call a BEER SUMMIT at Fenway? :)

    Maybe with a chicken finger fondue as the appetizer????   :)
     
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    Re: Required Reading to Get Back to Reality

    So......  What's your point Utica?  What's your take???

    I think MOST RS fans realize this collapse was NOT simply caused by a few beers & chicken during games.  Rather, that those anecdotes are emblematic of a more insidious collapse of discipline!  A collapse of attitude!  A collapse of leadership!  a collapse of character!  A collapse of TEAM!  A collapse of focus!  A collapse of discretion!  A collapse of work ethic!  A collapse of 'having the back' of their teammates! 

    THE COLLAPSE WAS SYSTEMIC!

    The 'unrefined' RS fans get that it was not so simple as to pin it on ONE PARTICULAR THING!  We are also unsophisticated enough not to THEO - logically cling to the blind defense of those in charge of running the asylum!!!!  Do the sophisticates who still seek to deflect blame from Tito & Theo at EVERY TURN get it??????
     
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