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Enablers are at the heart of the problems with the Red Sox

Posted by Eric Wilbur, Boston.com Staff  August 15, 2012 08:43 AM

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This is going to get hostile, so the gumdrop and lollipop crowd may want to look away.

At this point with the Red Sox, I don't even know who to take at his or her genuine word. It is a team, a franchise, and a media corps infected with enablers and hypocrites. What's left to root for is a despicable team that has failed to learn even one iota of a lesson from last season's failure. They got one guy fired, now they want the next guy gone, refusing to even take a sniff of a glance in the mirror to discover the true problem.

So, what did we ultimately learn from Jeff Passan's bomb-dropping piece on Yahoo! Tuesday? The Red Sox clubhouse is a chaotic mess with no direction, respect, or will. Shocker. Next thing you'll tell me is that rubies are rare.

But why does it take Passan to ultimately report that Adrian Gonzalez, the underperforming All-Star first baseman who is apparently above any semblance of criticism, sparked a players-only team meeting with Red Sox owners to express displeasure with Bobby Valentine? Why is it that Buster Olney is the one who reported 17 players (did they take attendance?) were at that meeting? And why, oh, why, during Tuesday's pregame media session with Bobby Valentine, in the wake of the story breaking, was CSNNE's Joe Haggerty, a reporter not normally with the team, and one who took heat from the BBWAA for reporting last week that John Lackey was "double-fisting" Bud Lights in the clubhouse, the only one to pose questions to the manager about the Passan piece? (The Globe's Nick Cafardo spoke with Valentine privately about the story)

Do the math.

Here's the problem: Until Red Sox beat reporters hold this team, and its questionable characters, accountable, nothing is going to change. Of course, it's still a Zip-a-Dee-Doo Dah good time as far as most are concerned. Why? If they cross that barrier, they won't get that pivotal quote from Josh Beckett that he "needs to pitch better?" Neat.

Instead, we get ifs, buts, and a general massaging of the players that has gone from ridiculous to borderline inexcusable. Take out nine of Beckett's starts and seven of Jon Lester's this year, and the Red Sox are 154-8! There's no drinking in the clubhouse, despite the fact that Beckett clearly has a "First Class, White Trash" bottle opener at his locker. You know, for Diet Coke! Nothing to see here!

The "Tsk Tsk" grief Haggerty received for last week's Lackey-swilling mention was ridiculous, his colleagues dismissing him for not knowing the rules. Dan Shaughnessy didn't know the rules, calling the availability of beer on the road, "sneaky." I didn't know. You didn't know. But we're all supposed to know. OK. 

Dustin Pedroia dismissed the Passan piece last night, explaining that he's never met him, presumably with a nod and a wink from the reporters giving him a postgame pedicure. It got sublime last night when WCVB reported that owners were not at the now-infamous meeting, despite the fact that Ben Cherington confirmed to Passan that it took place.

I mean, what are we doing here?

He said, she said. You can't have an opinion unless you're a card-carrying member, which is sort of like saying you can't have a political view unless you live inside the Beltway. The Red Sox have been in serious, decaying decline since losing Game 7 of the 2008 ALCS. Both as a franchise and as an on-field product. That's a big deal. No? OK then. Rah-rah.

If the Red Sox had any sort of institutional integrity, they would go out and make a run to put Morgan Magic to shame, shut everybody up, and regain some semblance of likeability. Instead, they received another lackluster effort last night from Beckett and fell three games under .500. Clearly, that veracity isn't there. The season is over.

And, sorry, it's time for the fans to fight back. Drastic change is needed, and it's clear those embedded with the team aren't going to aid in that realm. Stop buying. Stop watching. Stop going. Stop caring.

Maybe then, they'll get the hint. As depressing that it is that it's come to this, no sane fan can any longer root for this group of slugs. Things have gone from laughable to clinically insane.

But if you take all that away, multiply 16 by 76, and stare at the moon for three hours, things are fine.

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About the Author

Eric Wilbur is a Boston.com sports columnist who is still in awe of what Dana Kiecker pulled off that one time in Toronto. He lives in the Boston area with his wife and three children. Comments and suggestions for the best Buffalo wing spots are encouraged.

Contact Eric Wilbur by e-mail or follow him on Twitter.


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