Uncovering The Red Sox Collapse

Here is this morning's required reading. It's a report from The Boston Globe's Bob Hohler, which is, basically, a look inside the Boston Red Sox clubhouse at how the sausage of FAIL was made.

The CliffsNotes: Everyone but Dustin Pedroia quit down the stretch and the situation spiraled out of control as Terry Francona lost control of the clubhouse and watched it deteriorate into a House of Fried Chicken and Video Games.

Hit the jump where we'll excerpt some of the best parts and figure out what it all means with the help of our friends at our Red Sox blog, Over the Monster.

Here's the tease from the Globe:

The story of Boston’s lost September unfolds in part as an indictment of the three prized starters. But the epic flop of 2011 had many faces: a lame-duck manager, coping with personal issues, whose team partly tuned him out; stars who failed to lead; players who turned lackluster and self-interested; a general manager responsible for fruitless roster decisions; owners who approved unrewarding free agent spending and missed some warning signs that their $161 million club was deteriorating.

The Big Thing: The Sox stopped caring.

The indifference of [Josh] Beckett, [John] Lester, and [John] Lackey in a time of crisis can be seen in what team sources say became their habit of drinking beer, eating fast-food fried chicken, and playing video games in the clubhouse during games while their teammates tried to salvage a once-promising season.

Mutiny: Hohler pinpoints where things apparently went wrong: a scheduling conflict.in which the Sox protested playing a day-night double-header to avoid Hurricane Irene on Sunday Aug. 28.

Sox owners soon suspected the team’s poor play was related to lingering resentment over the scheduling dispute, sources said. The owners responded by giving all the players $300 headphones and inviting them to enjoy a players-only night on principal owner John W. Henry’s yacht after they returned from a road trip Sept. 11. But the gestures made no difference.

The Francona Problem: Team sources to Hohler that personal problems seemed to distract the Red Sox manager during the season.

Francona spent the season living in a hotel after he moved out of the Brookline home he shared with Jacque, his wife of nearly 30 years. But he adamantly denied his marital problems affected his job performance. ... Team sources also expressed concern that Francona’s performance may have been affected by his use of pain medication, which he also vehemently denied.

Jacoby Ellsbury, All Alone: Hohler said that the Sox star center fielder is barely a part of the clubhouse culture, distancing himself from the team last season after he was criticized for not playing through injury.

The episode chilled Ellsbury’s relationship with the team. As joyful as Ellsbury’s MVP-caliber season was to many fans, his interaction in the Sox clubhouse was limited mostly to his friend Jed Lowrie

The Carl Crawford Dilemma: Apparently, not everyone in the organization was on the same page about signing the left fielder this offseason.

Ownership was divided over Epstein’s push to acquire Crawford as a free agent, sources said. At least one top executive believed Crawford’s skills as a speedy lefthanded-hitting outfielder seemed to duplicate Ellsbury’s. But the owners ultimately agreed to gamble $142 million over seven years on Crawford - a lost wager to date.

But read the entire article. There's a lot more in there about some Sox pitchers drinking beer and playing video games, a malcontent David Ortiz and more.

As for reaction, here's a quote from the Over the Monster's excellent reaction to the article.

Yes, this article is chalk full of revelations, most of them kind of ridiculous. Did the team quit on Francona? The results on the field indicate so, but that's too easy. Blaming all the players and coaches for not caring and not working hard enough, which is essentially what this article does, smacks of so much Monday morning quarterbacking.

Tell us what you think in the comments.

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