They embarrassed their city.
They embarrassed their fans.
They embarrassed themselves.
"They" is the 2011 Boston Red Sox. They had one of the worst Septembers in franchise history and it cost them dearly. The Sox lost everything, and it was one of the worst collapses in baseball history. (The 1964 Phillies still own the worst one. By far.)
There was plenty of bloodletting after it was over. Terry Francona departed. Theo Epstein departed. A new regime has taken over. And everyone associated with the Boston Red Sox has a lot to prove.
I like the fact that very few pundits are picking the Red Sox to make the playoffs. (I've even seen a few picking them fourth.) Expectations were sky high at this time last season. (Remember that inane Boston Herald front page that said that the 2011 team would be the best team in franchise history? That absolutely made me cringe at the time.) They are to say the least a lot more muted now. As a Sox fan, I have always liked it when the Red Sox were not picked to win it all, and 2012 is clearly one of those years.
Bobby Valentine is a short-term solution here, having been given just a two-year contract. So the heat is one him right now to produce.You know he will be super-motivated. But you also know that we are all living in Bobby Valentine's world. He will want to be the center of attention. The Sox management knew that when they brought him on. There are going to be times when he will say or do something that will make me cringe in 2012. I accept that. I am perfectly willing to cut Bobby V a break right now. He deserves the opportunity to show that he can lead this team to a title. It is also his last best shot at a winner. You have to think that if he blows this, another opportunity won't be waiting for him.
I wasn't looking for any apologies for what happened last September from anyone connected to the Red Sox. (No matter what the damned Boston media thinks, we as fans want a winner in 2012. Last season is history. It's in the rearview mirror.) Forget all that "fried chicken" crap. That was simply overdone after the season ended. The negative media seized on that and wouldn't let it go.
The fact that the starting pitching fell completely to pieces in September was the overwhelming reason why the Red Sox went home in October. Jon Lester and Josh Beckett were the main culprits. They were supposed to be the stoppers and weren't. However, you win as a team, and you lose as one. The 2012 team has many questions, like the back of the rotation, the front of the bullpen, Carl Crawford's health, shortstop and more.
The Red Sox doubters are out there in full force. And if the Red Sox don't get off to a good start this month their voices will grow very loud. So a decent start would be a good thing. And no doubt we will hear about 2011 until our ears bleed if the Red Sox break from the gate the way they did last year.
As far as I am concerned, 2011 is over. I don't need any reminders about it. And I won't make any predictions about this season. We'll see how it goes and hope for the best.
Personally, I think too many guys on this team felt a sense of entitlement, and it cost the team dearly. I hope certain individuals took long looks in their mirrors about happened last September. I don't care how many World Series rings they may have. They have a lot to prove, and not just to the media, but to us the fans.
Opening Day is tomorrow in Detroit.
It's time for the Boston Red Sox to rebuild their reputations, and make us proud again.