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Gonzalez the perfect face for these free-falling Sox

Posted by Eric Wilbur, Boston.com Staff  May 7, 2012 08:26 AM

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He is the face of a franchise with no soul.

It's the perfect role for Adrian Gonzalez.

You can take the man out of San Diego, but you apparently can't take the laissez-faire SoCal nonchalance out of the player who is quickly becoming the maddening, non-charismatic answer to JD Drew.

Just not in God's plan, I guess.

Oftentimes, it can be a stretch to criticize a baseball player's fire and desire, the patient game not exactly on par with the passion exhibited in other sports. But this guy is a wonder.

Has there ever been a more forgettable MVP campaign in recent memory than what Gonzalez gave the Red Sox last season? One-plus seasons into his Boston contract, is it realistic to add the first baseman to the elongated list of colossal Theo Epstein blunders the former GM orchestrated before escaping the increasing disaster that is this franchise?

Yesterday was probably the worst game of Gonzalez's career, an epic 0-8 afternoon with a pair of strikeouts in Boston's 9-6, 17-inning loss to the surprising Baltimore Orioles. After the game, the stand-up Gonzalez defended his performance by slinking away, refusing to answer any questions from reporters, just what you want from a $154 million franchise cornerstone, and supposed leader.

For the second time in a week, Gonzalez's failure to come through in the clutch spoke volumes about the man's charisma. Think about it. Gonzalez struck out against Orioles DH Chris Davis on three pitches. That's almost impossible to fathom, isn't it?

In the end, the Sox fell to 11-16 on the young season, 7 games in back of the 19-9 Orioles. They are just four wins up on the 7-20 Minnesota Twins for the worst record in Major League Baseball.

What a disaster. An unmitigated disaster.

The fact that Gonzalez refused to answer any inquisitions about his failures yesterday is simply the perfect way to sum up what this team has become. It's one thing to fall apart, it's something else to not stand up for your actions. The Red Sox are in freefall mode, losers of five in a row, and when it comes time to face the music, their star player plays coward.

That's your 2012 Boston Red Sox.

They are a completely unlikable failure of a team, a roster built with players few fans can figure out and bloated, overrated egos. Ben Cherington should get credit for attempting to fix the team that collapsed in historic fashion one year ago, but the damage has been done. The Red Sox are in deep trouble, and thanks to ridiculous decisions about Carl Crawford, John Lackey, and yes, Adrian Gonzalez, it's a sinkhole that doesn't seem like it's going to get better any time soon.

Gonzalez is a heck of a ballplayer, and perhaps he'll even rebound from one of the worst starts of his career.

But he doesn't belong here.

Not even two months into his second season here, that's becoming more and more evident. A player's "comfort" can be somewhat overrated in sports. Each person carries himself a different way, whether or not it's effective in different markets and lifestyles is another matter entirely.

Adrian Gonzalez is signed through 2018. There's no way he's here through then.

One has to wonder if he ever really mentally got here. He's totally unprepared for what it means to be a team leader in a place like Boston.

He is perhaps the most boring superstar in the game, and now it appears he's running away from the heat. Maybe he should take a breath and dash for it.

Like back to sunny San Diego.

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About the Author

Eric Wilbur is a Boston.com sports columnist who is still in awe of what Dana Kiecker pulled off that one time in Toronto. He lives in the Boston area with his wife and three children. Comments and suggestions for the best Buffalo wing spots are encouraged.

Contact Eric Wilbur by e-mail or follow him on Twitter.

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