Just Desserts

We come at this a bit uninformed: we didn’t watch a single pitch of any of last night’s action. But we have read up, and we did follow (in cursory fashion) the action of the month of September. All we can really say is that the Sox are right where they should be, on their way home to clean out their lockers. The September team was not the mid-summer team, which was the team the front office wanted. That’s life. Had the Sox come out of the winter with a rotation including Kyle Weiland, Andrew Miller, Time Wakefield, nobody would have picked them to win a damn thing, and that’s the team we got (and, to an extent, Theo gave us) in the last 30 days. They go home getting what they deserved, and while it happened in gut-wrenching fashion we can’t help but think this was essentially a mercy killing, the dispatch of a team that had neither a right to be in the playoffs nor any future in that tournament (had they made it at all).

This was no 1975, 1978, 1986, 2003. We lived through all of those. We feel nothing like we did freshman year in college when the Sox blew it. We feel nothing like we did on that red-eye home from California the night Aaron Boone hit it out, just before we boarded the place. 1986 and 2003, in particular, were small sample size freak-shows of tragic decision-making and performance. This, on the other hand, was a terrible performance over a long stretch by what was, in the end, a lineup and pitching staff that (had they been in place in April) nobody would have pegged to win even 81 games. In the end, this was the just result, and there should be no hyperbolizing or complaining about that.

29 comments… add one

  • I can’t argue about the emotional impact on you, but how the events unfolded over the last month and last night seemed to be an agony of incredibly freaky, fluky events (Andino!), each one worse than the last. I’m a Yankee fan and I began to almost feel sorry for the Sox. Almost.

    Festus800 September 29, 2011, 10:15 am
  • I think we’ll be deconstructing this for a while.
    Most obvious is that the starting pitching has been abyssmal.
    But that wasn’t the only thing.
    The offense struggled for consistency the last six weeks, the defense became below average, the mental mistakes mounted and they ran the bases, at times, like Little Leaguers.
    And there were a handful of injuries, key among them Youkilis and Buchholz. But injuries weren’t the issue, unless we find out a bunch of stuff in the next month, like Gonzo was playing on a broken knee.
    Bottom line – it’s on the players, but it wasn’t about ability. And I don’t blame Tito and Theo.
    Ultimately, I think the problems were things none of us will ever know for certain: Lack of character, lack of balls, lack of leadership among the players, lack of emotion.
    I’m trying hard not to make excuses for them. I hope it doesn’t seem as if I am.
    Last thought – for now … they really could have used a dose of Mark Recchi, Brad Marchand and most of all Tim Thomas and his famous shoulder chip in that clubhouse the last six weeks.

    I'mBillMcNeal September 29, 2011, 10:53 am
  • I guess that was a long-winded way of saying this team lacked the intangibles.

    I'mBillMcNeal September 29, 2011, 11:01 am
  • We have to stick around when this baseball thing is all said and done for the sabres vs bruins battles IBM…
    Hope you are holding up OK dude. I feel bad for you guys on this site. You are the good ones. Now, the idiots I meet on the street??? Think Cartman licking Scott Tennorman’s tears after being told he ate his parents in some chili…

    krueg September 29, 2011, 11:04 am
  • Thanks, krueg. I hope we get to share a few IPAs someday. …
    I’m fine. My 9-year-old cried this morning and I let him (until he got too dramatic.) I remembered what 1975 and 1978 felt like. 1978 was the worst because Zimmer tried to kill that team off and they fought back despite him. I was 13 and cried when Yaz made the last out.
    Like I said, this had been coming for weeks, and I’m relieved because now I don’t have to wonder if the torture will get worse. It’s finally over, and if I listen to Welcome by Santana a few times, I’ll be good as new.

    I don’t mind the Sabres. It’s a good franchise with good players. Miller is a good character guy. …
    Funny … I keep thinking about the Bruins winning the Cup and how they were the antithesis of this Red Sox team.

    I'mBillMcNeal September 29, 2011, 11:28 am
  • OK, I gotta get some work done.

    I'mBillMcNeal September 29, 2011, 11:33 am
  • I don’t think the Sox lacked intangibles. I think they lacked Clay Buchholz.
    To me that was the single biggest blow they suffered all year – not Youk, not Lackey being atrocious. That’s the difference to me for the whole year. If Buchholz stays healthy and everything else goes just the way it did with all the other players, Crawford, Lackey, etc., I think this team wins the division and contends. The worst part is it wasn’t even a conventional arm injury!!!!

    SF September 29, 2011, 1:05 pm
  • Heck, even one more Buchholz start could have made the postseason a possibility, but (sour grapes incoming) I do think this team was going to get blown…a…way…if they had made it that far (even in game 163). Maybe they could have suddenly turned it around with two front-line starters and a still-dangerous lineup, but I doubt it. I hope they think about this all winter and all of next season. You have to take it; it isn’t given to you.

    Devine September 29, 2011, 1:14 pm
  • I do think this team was going to get blown…a…way…if they had made it that far
    Completely agree – is that sour grapes though? Seems more like just reasonable observation. The team at the end was a 75-80 win team for a full season, a mediocrity with the staff they were fielding. They had no right to be in the playoffs with that squad, and they would have gotten crushed. I know there are some YFs here who think they were still dangerous, but two weeks ago it seemed pretty darn clear that they weren’t dangerous.
    Buchholz healthy was the difference to me, it starts and ends there. If he’s healthy we get less of everybody – maybe Albers doesn’t fade as hard, maybe Bard does better, it was one of those cascading injuries that caused a lot of collateral damage, in my opinion.

    SF September 29, 2011, 1:21 pm
  • krueg September 29, 2011, 1:58 pm
  • So the odds of the Rays making the playoffs and the Red Sox failing to was 1-in-278 million. Ouch.

    Atheose - SF September 29, 2011, 2:11 pm
  • I have much respect for Nate Silver and what he’s done, but his math on that “1 in 278 million” is awful.
    If the Sox’s playoff odds was 99.7% at one point.. then the chance of what happened with 0.3% of the time, or 1 in 300, roughly. Sounds about right.
    If you want to use the independent events of the 2% – Paps blowing it and Dan Johnson hitting a HR, then it’s a simple 0.04%, or that at that particular moment, Red Sox had a 99.96% chance of making the playoffs. Or what happened had a 1 in 2000 chance of happening. Also reasonable.
    None of this 1 in 278 mil bullshit.
    This is pretty fundamental probability 101, I don’t know how he could get it so wrong.

    Lar September 29, 2011, 3:44 pm
  • Another way to put it is, the win probability of Rays down 7-0 and the win probability of Rays down 7-6 with 2 outs are not independent — you can’t just multiply those!

    Lar September 29, 2011, 3:45 pm
  • We have so many people with interesting knowledge here…I’m still trying to figure out what I might bring.

    krueg September 29, 2011, 5:15 pm
  • Fairly interesting behind-the-scenes stuff…a thread at SoSH dissecting the press conference with Theo and Tito today (sounds like it was more open/forthright–though not totally, of course–than these things usually are).
    http://sonsofsamhorn.net/topic/68369-tito-and-theo-to-hold-press-conference-at-4/

    Devine September 29, 2011, 5:44 pm
  • “We come at this a bit uninformed: we didn’t watch a single pitch of any of last night’s action.”
    Wait, what!? Seriously? Wow, that’s sad. Two titles in your adult life and you couldn’t bring yourself to expect/cheer for the best? That really is sad. It was an amazing night of baseball. The Sox were utterly embarrassed, most especially after their off-season spending binge. But, so what? So were the Yankees in 2004. I can’t imagine you stopped watching then.
    Perhaps it was time for the SFs to eat a bit of humble pie. After the off-season of crowing, I miss the voices here who were crowing the loudest – on Crawford, Lackey, A-Gonz – for a 103 win team. Hell, it wasn’t too long ago where folks were proclaiming this the greatest offense that had ever been.

    James YF September 29, 2011, 8:22 pm
  • krueg, you bring the gonja and Sabres tickets.
    I’ll bring the IPA.

    I'mBillMcNeal September 29, 2011, 8:23 pm
  • Interesting takeaways from the SOSH thread on the Tito/Theo presser
    - seems like Theo came pretty close to giving the infamous “full support” to his manager that usually precedes the manager being fired.
    - The commenters felt that the the clubhouse issues were bigger than thought, with Lackey being called out for causing problems (side note – who is the leader on this team? I really don’t know).
    - The conditioning seems to be a big issue that needs to be addressed in the off season.
    - Theo admitting the they have done poorly in big free agent signings. The SOSH thread seemed to indicate they were talking about the mental make-up of playing in Boston. Saw the Pete Abe note on his Boston.com blog saying that Gonzo was complaining about the schedule and playing a lot of Sunday night games on ESPN saying this was his most physically challenging season in the majors. Thought that was interesting, he’s been in the league long enough that NYY and Boston are on national TV more than any other team.
    The free agency signings comments was also interesting since they have $52M coming off the books next year with about $13M in contract increases coming on. Wonder if they will try to get a high profile FA or maybe use that to lock up Ellsbury long term. I’m hoping the latter.

    BillsBurgSF September 29, 2011, 8:31 pm
  • Time out, here, James.
    I don’t recall any crowing.
    As has been said so many times, the goal is not to win December. We’re all smarter than that.
    Yes, it was great to make those deals, and have something to smile about on a cold winter day. But we all learned from watching the Yankees of the early 2000s(Giambi, Mussina, A-Rod) that throwing gobs of money at free agents isn’t a magic elixer to win a World Series. It’s the O’Neills and Brosiuses and Muellers and Millars that make the difference.
    I don’t recall anyone demanding YFs eat crow between 2001 and 2008 when Big Stein spent $1 billion and got nothing but an Adams Division banner.

    I'mBillMcNeal September 29, 2011, 8:32 pm
  • All of that said, I saw this coming weeks ago. And I’m not alone. There was something about this group that left me feeling uneasy.
    And today I wasn’t so much heartbroken as I was embarrassed.
    At least we didn’t hear the infamous “More days in first place” line.

    I'mBillMcNeal September 29, 2011, 8:36 pm
  • I listened to the whole press conference. It was candid, especially the part about the process behind high priced free agents, but hardly newsworthy. Of course, they’re going to evaluate things.
    I will say that the Boston press corps is a bunch of pussycats. Not one tough question in the bunch – like where was Crawford’s defense all season long and last night in particular? Or how does an organization as deep as this one have only Kyle Weiland ready in the minors?
    No this Sox team is sinking hard and the best the press could do was ask about Lackey’s eye rolls? Two years with no playoffs. The best $350 Million ever spent? Really?
    The mistakes are too numerous to count. They let V-Mart and Beltre go – two of their best players from the 2009 horrid bunch. Who could have thought that Youkilis would ever survive a full season at 3B? They’re going to depend on that again? Where was the solution at SS, for a $175M team? JD Drew completely fell apart. Crawford, and his .330 career OBP, showed it’s worth. Lackey showed he’s not a MLB pitcher. Nor is Andrew Miller. Dice-K was finished. Ditto Jenks. The catching tandem was good for maybe half the season.
    To think they’re going to pretend all is okay, how exactly? There are no clear fixes. The offense looks sound. But they need three arms for the rotation. Where are those coming from?

    James YF September 29, 2011, 8:44 pm
  • “I don’t recall any crowing.”
    Go read the archives. You’ll find me arguing with “projections” that showed the Sox ready to win 103 games – a ridiculous improvement over the 89 wins of 2009. I argued that they were treading water, if a tad bit better. I got lots of crow in return.
    “I don’t recall anyone demanding YFs eat crow between 2001 and 2008 when Big Stein spent $1 billion and got nothing but an Adams Division banner.”
    Maybe it was because they actually made the playoffs every year from 2001 to 2007 with two series appearances in there? 2008 was hardly shocking either, but we all saw the youth on the way.
    What do the 2012 Sox have going for them? And what’s the solution to what ails them? Spend more money? How original…
    No, the Cult of Theo needs to die. Of course Cashman needs to crow about driving up the price on Crawford. He’s consistently outshined by an inferior GM.

    James YF September 29, 2011, 8:51 pm
  • James, excoriating me for not watching last night without knowing why I didn’t watch is just rude and judgmental. Why I haven’t watched a lot of baseball this last month and a half is due to life and other commitments, and if you want to call that “sad” then that is more of a statement about your propensity to judge those you don’t know than anything else.

    SF September 29, 2011, 9:41 pm
  • See I watched the press conference tonight and also read the transcript and I don’t think they are going to pretend everything is OK. I think there are going to be some significant changes. I think Franconia is gone, but not because the team will fire him. I think he is going to ask them not to pick up the 2 year option he has. From listening to him talk and reading what he said, I’m not sure he really wants to be here. I think he lost the clubhouse and there was a bunch of problems that players had that he couldn’t fix.
    One of the other changes that may be made is they need to rely a little less on the stats and look at bit more at the mental makeup of the player coming in. I think Crawford is going to be fine, though I not sure about Gonzo. At least Crawford played in the AL East so he was somewhat experienced with the Boston media circus, at least he seems to take responsibility for his failures this season. Gonzo reaction was that “this was all God’s plan and we have no control over it” (not taking a swipe at his beliefs here either) and then complained that the Sox had a bunch of Sunday night ESPN games.
    As for the Boston media asking tough questions, really? They aren’t going to ask those questions because they need to maintain access to the team and the players and be able to get quotes for stories so they can continue to sell newspapers, advertising, etc and earn a living. Come on, this is sports we are talking about here with a GM and manger of a BASEBALL team that entertains its fans (and this season was at least entertaining if not fulfilling at the end) holding an end of season press conference. It not like this is a press conference of some politician that did something stupid or anything.

    BillsBurgSF September 29, 2011, 10:41 pm
  • Excoriate?
    ex·co·ri·ate Verb/ikˈskôrēˌāt/
    1. Censure or criticize severely.
    2. Damage or remove part of the surface of (the skin).
    I don’t see where I’m doing either. I’m just surprised as all. The biggest games of the season and you had something better to do. You and a bunch of other SFs here…for most of the season. They showed up in March and then poof, gone.
    Billsburg -
    Careful taking Abraham too seriously. He’s a hack. He’ll write any story he wants irrespective of the truth.
    I think there are many folks in Boston who think Theo did plenty stupid. But he’s still a golden boy in the media’s eye. Of course, it also helps when you own the sports channel and the biggest newspaper. Like I said, pussycats.

    James YF September 29, 2011, 11:52 pm
  • “krueg, you bring the gonja and Sabres tickets.
    I’ll bring the IPA.”
    DONE.

    krueg September 30, 2011, 12:17 am
  • Take it easy James…
    These are not the droids you’re looking for.

    krueg September 30, 2011, 12:20 am
  • No shit, James.
    Settle down and stop mixing your Red Bull with your espresso (I’m being metaphorical.)
    A. This is baseball, not life and death. Your attack dog mentality the day after the Sox idiotic collapse mercifully came to an end is not appreciated.
    B. The day after news conference is not the day to go after the manager and GM. Your questions are generally legit, but that’s not the time to ask. Plus, you know damn well you’re not going to get answers.
    All of this stuff will come out. It WILL come out.

    I'mBillMcNeal September 30, 2011, 8:30 am
  • “This is baseball, not life and death.”
    Says the guy who just wrote:
    “You know, you love your team the most when what you hear about them makes you want to hang out with them. I felt that way during most of Tito’s run.
    I doubt I’d have wanted to hang with this team. And I’m very disappointed in that.
    Makes me even more depressed about this season.”
    “Your attack dog mentality the day after the Sox idiotic collapse mercifully came to an end is not appreciated.”
    If I can’t point out, on YFSF, the folly of projecting 103 wins the day after said collapse, when can I?
    As for the news conference, it just goes to show how lame the Boston media is. Talk radio will rip them apart, but the beat writers play with kid gloves to their face.

    James YF September 30, 2011, 10:58 am

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