"The media's always been a big blow-up factor for those guys. You've got so many eyes with cameras and ears listening, it's ridiculous. Everything's going to get captured. So you've got to be careful what you say. And as for playing, it just seems like since the September fallout, they haven't really figured out what it takes to get back on track. And when they do, something derails them." -Josh Reddick on Boston
With all that has gone on since the infamous July 26th meeting, it doesn't seem like anyone is really being careful about what they say -- players, coaches or the front office.
There's a tremendous amount of 'he said, he said' going on within the Red Sox organization these days. Well, its really been going on all season long, ever since the collapse and since the Bobby Valentine hiring. Then came reports that Kevin Youkilis was such a detriment to the team that he had to be shipped off and once he was, balance would be restored.
Well, that didn't work.
Soon after, the reports shifted to the front office and how general manager Ben Cherington was sitting idly by at the trade deadline, all but completely abandoning the team when moves needed to be made to shore up an injury-riddled team. But now, all eyes (and ears) are inside the Red Sox dugout.
That July 26th meeting allegedly came to be when Adrian Gonzalez sacrificed himself to be the mouthpiece for a disgruntled ball club. A text message was sent to ownership, and John Henry called the meeting in which, according to anonymous sources, dealt heavily with the players' frustrations with Valentine.
After rumors from the meeting started to swirl concerning several players calling for Valentine's head, Dustin Pedroia came out and told the media that Valentine was not to blame, rather the team's poor play was the biggest reason for their frustration. Pedroia went even further to say that had never met the author of the article about the Red Sox private meeting, Jeff Passan, which proved nothing about what really went on behind closed doors, and only made Pedroia seem like he had a guilty conscious.
No one in Boston knows how to just shut up and play baseball anymore. As a fan, I know that poor play is a huge problem. Injuries have made the road even bumpier, and Valentine's questionable relationships with players and coaches have been a pain in the ass. But do we need to hear it every single day?
Does Henry need to come out in an e-mail and say this is a failed season? I don't think so. I certainly understand that a little realism is necessary since we can no longer sit back and say, "well, its only June, plenty of baseball left," but giving up all hope is a little ridiculous. The September collapse was unbearable last year, but the 2012 collapse is proving to be just as arduous and even more drawn out.
The team just needs to put their heads down and do what they can to at least salvage their name. Josh Beckett's head is already down, but all he's doing is taking his $15 million and putting on a uniform, he's not trying to win. There are plenty of players here who want to win, but they just need to get away from the cameras and worry about what's happening on the field.
Boston is a very tough market to play in, and understandably so, given the success this team has had in the past decade and the worldwide fan base that has declared itself an independent nation. The Red Sox really have their hands tied going down the stretch here, though. It would make no sense to fire Valentine, and the ownership isn't going anywhere, either. They can't dump Beckett without flushing millions upon millions down with him. All the Red Sox need to just play decent baseball for the rest of the year to avoid going below .500 for the first time since 1997.
Is that too much to ask?