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A lot for fans to absorb

Theo Epstein and Terry Francona had a light moment during the team picture in August (before the bottom fell out). Theo Epstein and Terry Francona had a light moment during the team picture in August (before the bottom fell out). (Brian snyder/Reuters)
By Seth Lakso
Globe Correspondent / October 13, 2011

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Reactions around town from yesterday’s jarring reports detailing the dysfunction of the Red Sox clubhouse and the departure of general manager Theo Epstein to Chicago ranged from frustration, to disgust, to even closure.

Consistently rousing emotions was the idea that pitchers Josh Beckett, John Lackey, and Jon Lester were sitting in the clubhouse during games drinking alcohol, eating fast food, and playing video games instead of sitting in the dugout supporting their team.

“You shouldn’t even have to be told not to eat fried chicken and drink beer in the clubhouse during games, especially while your team is in the middle of a historic collapse,’’ said Mackenzie Tucker of Westminster, who as a teacher was disappointed in the lack of professionalism.

“When you have a payroll that’s top three in baseball, you expect to be good, but you also expect to be professional, and that’s the part that seems like got lost,’’ said Eugene Macgregor, a co-owner of The Fours sports bar in Boston. “You can have all the problems in the world but you still have to play for what you’re paid for, and that’s baseball.’’

“What really bothered me was that they are supposed to be your top three pitchers and leaders on our team, and when it mattered down the stretch, they all came up short,’’ said Northeastern student Alex Brownell.

“But it wasn’t just them. Ownership came up short, too. How did they not know that all those things were going on in the clubhouse?’’

Fans seemed torn over just what caused the greatest collapse in baseball history but generally agreed that changes need to be made.

As for who deserves to go? Lackey was the most popular answer, but opinions varied on the departures of manager Terry Francona and Epstein.

“I liked Francona, and never had a bad thing to say about him until this year,’’ said Tucker. “But he obviously couldn’t control the players this year and maybe no one could have.

“I was also disappointed to see Theo go. It was nice to have a general manager who wasn’t afraid to make big moves. Some of them just didn’t work out this season.’’

Fran Manganiello, also a co-owner of The Fours, saw this as the end of the line for Francona.

“He needed to go,’’ she said. “He lost control. You had a manager who trusted in his pros to do their job. When they stopped, there was nothing more he could do.’’

Some fans are just trying to put baseball out of their heads after such a crushing end to the season.

“I’ve moved on, man, I’m on to hockey and football now,’’ said Nick Surman of Boston, as his friends yelled, “You’ll be back!’’

Manganiello is one fan who thinks things can be turned around as early as next season.

“I think John Henry is doing what he needs to do,’’ she said. “He needs to regroup and make it better. Whatever they do, I have the faith.

“The Red Sox are 12 months a year here. Everyone loves to talk baseball. Now we just have a lot more to talk about.’’

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