BOSTON, MA - MAY 10: Josh Beckett #19 of the Boston Red Sox watches as a ball hit by Jack Hannahan #9 of the Cleveland Indians leaves the field for a two-run home run in the second inning at Fenway Park May 10, 2012 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Boston has a lot of great sports teams, like the Boston Red Sox. Oh wait, nevermind. Well, the Red Sox are great at being terrible, right? Bruce Allen writes about the tough times that have fallen upon the Sox.
Misery loves company, and the sports media world is only too happy to oblige.
The Red Sox continue on their horrific streak of baseball, which dates back to last September, and has continued in the early part of this season. The struggle of the Red Sox is good business for sports talkers, who have their show material handed to them on a silver platter on a daily basis. Show prep is unnecessary, they can literally just show up, and their show spontaneously flows with calls, texts, tweets and incoming news creating an amalgam of anger, frustration and hyperbole.
There doesn't appear to be an end in site, either. After a brutal early season schedule, and then an encouraging road trip in which the Red Sox took series on the road from the Twins and White Sox, they then lose series to the A's, Orioles and Royals. There has yet to be a single sign that this team is getting ready to break out and go on the type of stretch of winning baseball that they did during May to August of last season.
While the team continues to struggle, the efforts to place the blame for the team's failures goes on in earnest. Earlier this week Eric Wilbur of Boston.com wrote a scathing column directed at Adrian Gonzalez. Wilbur said wondered:
One-plus seasons into his Boston contract, is it realistic to add the first baseman to the elongated list of colossal Theo Epstein blunders the former GM orchestrated before escaping the increasing disaster that is this franchise?
I think we'd still place Carl Crawford and John Lackey higher on that list, seeing as how neither player has even stepped on the field for the team this season. Ditto for Daisuke Matsuzaka, though that should change sometime in the next few weeks.
The delusional stylings of an online columnist aside, (Remember, this was the same guy who wrote a column eviscerating Tom Brady that was posted about 30 minutes after the Super Bowl.) most of the scapegoat talk centers around Josh Beckett. When word trickled out on Wednesday that Beckett and Clay Buchholz had played golf last Thursday after it had been announced that Beckett would miss his start on Saturday, the world pretty much came to an end. If there were a standalone Twitter network around Boston, it would've been displaying the "fail whale" all afternoon.
Even the tragic death of beloved Fenway Park PA announcer Carl Beane was merely a speedbump to the Josh Beckett golfing story. I happened to have both sports radio stations on when they broke the news, and in each case, it was reported, there were a few seconds of 'serious voice" and then after a beat, they were right back to the Beckett story full force.
(Thankfully, there were plenty of other thoughtful, heartfelt remembrances of Beane, none better than the one from Mike Petraglia of WEEI.com.)
Things are so bad, I'm wondering when Dan Shaughnessy is going to declare the Curse of the Bambino back "on" and start a newly revised edition to hit bookshelves, Kindles and Nooks this summer. Dan is writing a book with former Red Sox manager Terry Francona, so there has to be a tie-in to Francona losing his job last fall somewhere.
While winning is great for ratings, it can be a bit boring for those whose job it is to talk about it. When a team has drama after drama like the Red Sox have experienced, there is no such dearth of material. It's easy for them, cathartic for some fans, and there is no end in sight.
To paraphrase Glenn Ordway, consider your summer ruined.