Archive for September, 2011
Should Fredi Gonzalez be taking the blame?
While the rest of the world is marveling at the pastoral beauty of Major League Baseball, and how two plucky, never-say-die teams roared into the playoffs on the frantic last night of the regular season, Red Sox [team stats] fans want none of it.
They want blood. They want names.
And perhaps most of all, they want accountability.
They want their failed players to stand up, raise their hands, and say, “It’s my fault.”
One of the few players who understands this basic tenet of being a member of the Red Sox is closer Jonathan Papelbon [stats], who has never been afraid of saying, “It’s on me,” when it’s on him.
But this team has become so fractured, its players perhaps too obsessed with looking at their own stats, rather than the standings, that accountability has become as out of style around here as pregame infield practice and outfielders who can make a strong throw to the plate.
Consider, for example, the preposterous statements uttered the other day by first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, who would have you believe that the Red Sox were done in this season because they were forced to play too many nationally televised Sunday night games. He also suggested that it’s God’s will that the Red Sox aren’t going to the playoffs.
There’s just so much wrong here that’s it hard to tell where to start. We’ll leave it at this: The reason Adrian Gonzalez plays for the Red Sox is because they are one of the few teams that can afford to pay him. That they are able to do so is because they are a big-market team, and big-market teams generally win a lot of games, which is why they are featured on national television.
Next year, if the Red Sox return to being big-market beasts and Gonzo starts hitting home runs again, his ridiculous whining will be forgotten. For now, he is the poster boy for all that has gone wrong for the Red Sox — who, by the way, are being viewed as a laughingstock throughout baseball. And we haven’t been able to say that since the last days of 2001, when Sox players were openly rebelling against Dan Duquette puppet Joe Kerrigan.
But it’s not just Gonzalez. Free agent bust John Lackey’s postgame pressers this season were as laughable as his pitching, what with all the excuses, and let’s not forget the constant eye-rolling when his glove men failed to come up with the ball.
It’s worth noting that both manager Terry Francona and general manager Theo Epstein came to Lackey’s defense yesterday, though Epstein did add, “He’s tried to change, but it’s something he can’t change. It’s an emotional reaction. We’ll continue to work with him on it.”
Funny, but during that same presser Epstein said, “I don’t think it’s appropriate for excuses. We did this to ourselves. We have to take full responsibility for it. We have to own it. Sure, certain things didn’t go our way, but every team deals with that. We can’t run from this. This happened. We have to learn from it and get better.”
Yet Lackey made excuses — and pointed fingers at others — and gets away with it.
Francona spoke cryptically of some kind of discord on the team, revealing he held a meeting in Toronto to go over some things. The skipper noted that “there were some things I was worried about. I thought we were spending too much energy on things that weren’t putting our best foot forward toward winning . . . there were some things that did concern me.
“Normally as the season progresses there are events that make you care about each other, and with this club it didn’t always happen as much as I wanted it to. And I was frustrated by that.”
Francona’s comments, coupled with Gonzo’s remarks from the other day and pretty much everything Lackey said this season, reveal a Red Sox clubhouse that sounds an awful lot like the days of “25 men, 25 cabs.”
Those teams never won anything.
Neither did this one.
Congrats to Novak. He is clearly the number one player in the world.
This was a complete victory for the Tide. Time to bring on the Gators!