Terry Francona had one of the best jobs in baseball on April 1. The Red Sox had emerged from spring training healthy and were favored to get to the World Series. They had a deep rotation, a lineup with power and speed and a bullpen loaded with power arms.
Now it's April 12 and disaster has struck. The Sox have the worst record in baseball at 2-9 and have been outscored by 32 runs. They are hitting .230 and have a staff ERA of 6.77.
So what do you do to try and change it? Here are some options:
1. Throw a fit: Come in with fire in your eyes. Hold a team meeting after batting practice and flip over a table. Take a bat to something. Threaten to fight anybody who talks back. Throw things across the room. This was big with Billy Martin.
2. Get ejected: As soon as there's a close call or your pitcher gets squeezed, get tossed. Come running out of the dugout and do whatever it takes. Once you get tossed, hang around for a few minutes and get your money's worth by kicking dirt on the plate or throwing a base. This will delight the crowd.
3. Blame somebody else: The media makes a good scapegoat. Collect a bunch of headlines or video clips of people making fun of your team. Try and create an "us against the world" atmosphere. Ask Tony La Russa for tips on this.
4. Change the routine: Cancel batting practice and tell the players to stay home until 5 p.m. Threaten to fine anybody who shows up early. This was a favored tactic of Joe Torre.
5. Stay the course: Trust in the roster. Trust track records. Maintain your composure. This could require plenty of medication, but it's better than panic.
6, Create a distraction with crazy behavior: Start your pre-game press conference by announcing you plan to root for the Canadiens against the Bruins. Endorse Donald Trump for president a few minutes later. This is will take attention away from how lousy the team is. Ozzie Guillen is the king of this.
7. Draw up a crazy lineup:. Hit Ortiz first. Bat Scutaro cleanup. It can't be any worse than what has gone on so far.
8. Make 'em laugh: Pretend to call a team meeting and have a guy in a clown suit sneak up and hit you with a pie in the face. I'm actually sort of serious about this. Do something to ease the tension.
What's your idea? Post it in the comments section.