The line had to be drawn somewhere. Why not here? Nothing has changed since last September's epic collapse. That is, nothing that has been of any help. Sure, there's a new manager. So far, that isn't working out. New players? Sure, but new doesn't mean good (they aren't). Attitude even still appears to be an issue.
We aren't even in September yet. It's still April.
"I think we've hit rock bottom," said Bobby Valentine. "That's what I told the guys." You think?
That's never an encouraging thing to hear, especially from the manager of the team ... 14 games into the season. But he's right. Saturday's debacle was just the icing on the (terrible?) cake. After taking a 9-0 lead, the Red Sox bullpen imploded (surprise!) and they lost the game 15-9.
All of this, and they still played "Sweet Caroline" in the eighth inning. And people sang along.
This is a joke, an utter embarrassment. What else can you say? A team with a nearly unmatched payroll coming off the worst collapse in baseball history, and this is how they respond?
Who is to blame? There isn't just one person. It's a combination. Bobby Valentine's managing has been suspect, the bullpen has been abhorrant, and the offense hasn't been stellar, either. Of course, upper management and ownership are to blame, too. Everybody deserves some blame.
Several things are clear in this mess. For starters, ownership cares more about your money than the product on the field. Secondly, management (general manager Ben Cherington in particular) has made some bad decisions. Finally, and most importantly, this team isn't worth your time.
"It's hard to blame anyone who chooses to wipe their hands of this team now," said Ben Buchanan, editor of SB Nation's Over The Monster. "The mantra of the fan is to support their team through good times and bad, but are there any teams that have made such an art of hurting their fans [like the Red Sox have]? At this point, I think we've discovered special circumstances."
The solution? More changes. Roster moves will need to be made. But what about Valentine?
"Yes, it's time to fire Bobby Valentine, but not because of the record, or the last two games, but because he's shown he's incapable of making the correct move in-game," Buchanan said. "Even forgetting all the intentional walks we've seen in the last few games as the Yankees and Rangers rolled inexorably through this pitching staff, Valentine has had terrible management of the thin bullpen he does have. Guys not warming up behind flagging pitchers, slow hooks, wrong choices to replace the pitchers he was slow to pull, that sort of thing. Beyond that, there are the terrible bunt decisions (such as taking the bat out of Mike Aviles's hands against a lefty to give Kelly Shoppach and Nick Punto a shot against a righty) and sometimes bizarre lineup cards."
Believe it or not, there's still time to salvage the season. But they'll need to fix the bullpen first.
"Yes, and no," Buchanan said when asked if there was a chance. "Saturday was, after all, just another game. One loss, or even ten, is not enough to kill a season, especially in a year with two wild card spots. That being said, what we have learned is that this team simply cannot win with this bullpen. It's impossible."
Bottom line: until this team shows that it's serious about righting the ship, you shouldn't give them your money. Whether it's buying tickets or merchandise, or even watching a game on television, this baseball team isn't worth a minute of your time. Right now, it's all about the money. As long as fans keep piling into the ballpark, buying commemorative bricks and singing "Sweet Caroline" in the eighth, everything is still fine in their eyes. Take away the money, and things will change.