Red Sox Collapse

Hello fellow TSMers, Rob here (“little TSM”?) with a post regarding the 5:20 segment on Prime Time Sports Wednesday evening. TSM introduced me to you back in August, and the combination of a day job, summer vacation, and a lack of inspiring topics (translation – lack of real Leafs news, Jays out of the pennant race, basketball lockout, Argos inconsistency) on my part bring us to today. Reading this morning that TSM will be posting more frequently is good news, and I plan to as well.

I have to thank Bob McCown and Damien Cox and their interview of Joe Sullivan, editor of the Boston Globe, regarding Robert Hohler’s “terrific” (tongue in cheek) piece in which he documents the going’s on (McCown’s words) that led to the collapse of the Boston Red Sox. According to Cox, it’s a throwback to “old time journalism”. To suggest that the shenanigans described in the article led to the collapse of the Red Sox is absurd.

In case you haven’t heard, the story broke in the Boston Globe describing a number of incendiary things occurring in the Red Sox clubhouse. The allegations include beer drinking in the clubhouse during games, ordering fast food/eating chicken during games, and playing video games during games. Cox replied “wow” to the allegations. Are you telling me that most writers associated with baseball haven’t heard this kind of thing before? Perhaps Cox should touch base with Richard Griffin at his paper – Griffin might indicate this isn’t necessarily a shocking revelation.

Now, a rhetorical question – how easy is it to produce a story such as this when the allegations are off the record as the editor admitted? Second, Hohler was on the Red Sox beat for 3 years prior to becoming a columnist. Perhaps he heard of these shenanigans going on in his old role.

Next, I have to question how familiar Joe Sullivan and Damien Cox are with the history of baseball. Frankly, I’m surprised McCown gave this story much credence, as I was under the impression he had a solid understanding of “flavor” of the game. There’s a litany of stories that litter this game highlighting such “goings on” as McCown categorized them – from Babe Ruth, to Dock Ellis, to the story yesterday. This isn’t meant to excuse the allegations, but rather to highlight the fact that this particular story shouldn’t be a surprise, let alone be described as a wonderful job, a piece of “old time journalism” (whatever that means), or be termed a terrific piece. What we ended up with was a 10 minute interview where fellow journalists/broadcasters held hands singing Kumbaya regarding what a wonderful job that was done.

Was the Red Sox demise stunning? Yes, but was it a complete surprise? Hardly – this team essentially finished off their season the way they started it – on a horrible losing streak. Their starting pitching was adequate at best, and when Lackey began to show his age and Bucholtz got injured, this team began its descent from its lofty peak, long before a cold Bud and some fried chicken were the daily special.

Sullivan said the Boston Herald was the first to report about drinking in the clubhouse. Next, he indicated that this type of occurrence was unprecedented (really?). Further, he stated the biggest part of the team failed – the starting pitchers. So the beer drinking, deep fried chicken eaters are Clay Bucholtz, on the 60 day DL? Or the other healthy starting pitchers (Lackey, Beckett, Wakefield, Lester), who aren’t necessarily available for duty that day? Sullivan was asked if you can fix this team, and he believed with new management, and new rules that the team can be set straight. Is this guy out of touch or what?

Finally, why were the anonymous sources willing to talk about the situation? Hmmm, let me see…perhaps because the GM is bolting for the Cubs and the manager was relieved of his duties? Isn’t it shocking that the anonymous sources are sticking their necks out to talk the press now.

Why didn’t Francona stop it? Was he incapable of stopping it? Did his alleged personal problems (troubled marriage? prescription drug issues?) play a role in this? Or, could it be because all of this was nothing out of the norm when they won the World Series in 2004 and 2007? Dan Patrick had a great interview with AJ Pierzynski (catcher with the White Sox, and analyst on FOX in the Championship Series) today in regards to this story. Pierzynski talked about the Sox doing team beer “rally shots” before an ALDS game against the Rays a few years back. It’s also been documented that the 2004 Red Sox team, led by the always interesting Kevin Millar, conducted themselves in a similar fashion on occasion. Patrick summed this entire story up best when he said that if you don’t win, this type of story looks bad, but if the Red Sox had won, as they did in ’04 and ’07, then they are nothing more than a clubhouse of interesting, eclectic guys that don’t follow the norm.

This piece was fluff journalism, and McCown and Cox took the bait – hook, line and sinker. What a waste of 10 minutes.

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