(Did the Herald use that headline yet?)

We can forget talk about panic. Red Sox followers moved past that emotion a while ago. They then progressed to anger. I think now the current emotion among fans is disgust.  A wave of sentiment is arising that hopes that his team doesn’t make the playoffs. I think we’ll quit trying to determine the low point of the season, because it very well may be yet to come.

Last night Josh Beckett and the Red Sox took a 4-1 lead into the sixth inning, only to give up five runs over the next three innings to fall once again to the Orioles, 6-4 at the home finale at Fenway Park.

Of course, the Red Sox maintained their Wild Card playoff lead, even reduced their magic number last night as the Yankees swept a doubleheader from the Tampa Rays. For all the talk about the surging Rays, they are 6-1 against the Red Sox in September and 5-8 against everyone else. A bigger concern might the Angels, who have now tied the Rays at 2 1/2 games behind the Red Sox.

Sox lose series finale,6-4, three of four to O’s – Sean McAdam leads off the CSNNE.com game story.

Josh Beckett can’t stop bleeding – Joe McDonald has Beckett unable to give the Red Sox a boost last night.

Parting boos only answer – Michael Silverman notes that getting booed off the field in their home finale isn’t quite what the Red Sox expected coming into this season. Mike Fine has more on the team earning the wrath of the Fenway faithful.

Red Sox feeling weight of swoon – Jackie MacMullan has the Red Sox showing signs of frustration even while trying to remain in “survival mode.” Tony Massarotti has Terry Francona in the crosshairs, even though he pretty much absolves him of any blame for this collapse.

Red Sox up in arms over losing – John Tomase says that the Red Sox pitching failures this month are hard to figure out.

The Red Sox end a home season that could mark the end of an era – Ron Chimelis notes that this could’ve been the last Fenway Park appearances for David Ortiz, Tim Wakefield, Jason Varitek and Jonathan Papelbon as members of the Red Sox.

Red Sox Will Still Make Playoffs, But Clinching to Set Up Rotation Now Top Priority – Tom Caron is still more worried about setting up the playoff rotation than he is about the team actually making the playoffs.

“Ask the captain” revisited – Gordon Edes is a little incredulous that Carl Crawford’s throwaway line to him incited so much talk over the outfielder’s relationship with Jason Varitek. John Tomase is the other figure in this case after his blog entry yesterday caused both sports radio stations in town to go berserk, insisting that the Varitek/Crawford exchange yesterday was fake and contrived.

Crawford was a real positive – The Globe notebook has a 3-4 night from Crawford as one of the few positives from last night. The Herald notebook from Scott Lauber has the Red Sox clubhouse trying to remain upbeat. The Red Sox Journal has Matt Albers and Scott Atchison also with encouraging performances this week. The CSNNE.com notes from Maureen Mullen have Clay Buchholz hopeful about pitching on the season-ending road trip. The Patriot Ledger notes from Fine has more on Beckett.

Patriots’ depth takes early hit – Chris Forsberg has the Patriots forced to place two players on IR yesterday. Ian R. Rapoport has more on Myron Pryor and Dan Koppen being sidelined for the season.

Brian Waters making quite an impression with his new mates – Christopher Price looks at the impact former Chief Brian Waters has made since coming to the team late in camp. More on Waters from Kevin McNamara.

Bills’ Harvard guy making name known – Karen Guregian has a look at Bills’ QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, who is becoming known for more than just being the guy from Harvard. More on Fitzpatrick from Michael Whitmer.

Bills no patsies this time around for Patriots – Tim Whelan Jr. says that this isn’t the same Bills team that has lost 15 straight to the Patriots.

Kevin Faulk’s year in football purgatory – Price catches up with the veteran running back about his injury and rehab.

Harold Nash keeps Pats program running like a top – Ian Rapoport looks at the first-year strength and conditioning coach.

Chung had thumb surgery – Shalise Manza Young’s notebook reports on thumb surgery for Patrick Chung (first reported by Mike Reiss yesterday.) The Herald notebook from Ian R. Rapoport has Tom Brady talking about fake injuries from opposing defensive players. The Patriots Journal has more on the injuries to Pryor and Koppen.

Dave Gavitt was many things, but he was known as ‘Coach’ – Jim Donaldson remembers the former Providence coach, Big East  and Celtics exec.

One way or another, camp different without Mark Recchi – DJ Bean says that Bruins camp is a little different without the veteran forward.

Arnold to host NESN Bruins programming – Chad Finn reports on the long rumored move of Dale Arnold taking over hosting duties of Bruins pre and post game programming following the departure of Kathryn Tappen.

The post from Finn and also one over on BostInnovation.com prompted reaction from @HeidiWatney. Both pieces mention the perception that Watney will not be returning to the network next season.

She aimed this at Finn, this one at the BostInnocation piece , both protesting the notion that neither she or NESN are interesting in continuing their relationship. I certainly hope Watney returns. She’s grown immensely in her role and skills since first coming on board and replacing Tina Cervacio. The way this Red Sox season is ending, she’s also a rare bright spot on the telecasts.

Here is the NESN release on the Arnold news, and also on Naoko Funayama getting a new contract from the station.

 

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15 thoughts on “Worst. Team. Ever.

  1. Ok, so like most Sox fans, I find the whole 'Sweet caroline' business ridiculous. It is silly, contrived and enjoyed by mostly very casual 'fans'.

    That said, I am enjoying the media obssession with it the last couple of weeks. Check your twitter feed right around the 8th inning and you will have every beat writer going on and on about how bad it is. What's changed? It's only been happening every night for the better part of a decade. The Sox are collapsing? What does the stupid song have to do with it?

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    1. I don't get why the media gets so worked up about it F&G were going on and on about how bad it was yesterday.

      People like to sign the song. It makes them happy…and I guess that's something sportswriters around here have very little first-hand experience with…happiness.

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    2. Its probably due to the fact that they have blown the games in the 8th inning the last two nights. So the “fun sing-along” is happening right after a crushing inning where the home team couldn’t shut the door. Seems pretty obvious to me.

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    3. Anything that raises the awareness of the idiocy of the blind, saccharine playing of a slightly creepy song about an 11-year-old girl written by a Dodgers fan from New York with no connection to the team whatsoever is fine by me.

      And I'm actually a big Neil Diamond fan, too. Except, now, with respect to that f—–ing song.

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    1. Actually that was my bad. For some reason a few words got left out which change the meaning of that sentence. It is now corrected. What I meant was that WEEI and 98.5 took Tomase's account and said that the exchange between Varitek and Crawford seemed fake, or forced, or just done to put on a show for the media.

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  2. Here's what has me bothered most of all: the concept that this is some sort of unique, once-in-a-lifetime collapse of historic proportions. No, it's really not. This sort of thing actually happens quite a bit. If the Sox were to blow this lead, it would be the first time it's ever happened…. in the history of the period 2009-2011. The Mets pulled it off a couple of years ago in 2008 — and for exactly the same reasons. The Mets' starting pitching imploded due to injuries and poor performances. Ditto here.

    The 2000 Yankees couldn't have backed into the playoffs more forcefully. Holding a 9 game lead in the division in the second week in September, they ended the season by going 3-15, including two losing streaks of 6 and 7 games — the latter to end the season. In that last streak, they were outscored 25-5 in three games by the abysmal (69-92) Rays, and 29-6 by the bad-but-not-quite-abysmal (74-88) Orioles. They held onto the AL East by 2.5 game because the Red Sox could not take advantage, also dropping 2 of 3 to both the Orioles and the Rays in late series. And all they did was go on to, you know, win the World Series and stuff.

    This sort of wild gyration in success is due, largely, to expansion. With 32 teams now, individual rosters are thinner on talent. Single injuries have a much more disproportionate effect on teams than they did in, say, 1962. Back then, if Mickey Mantle gets hurt, the Yankees have a Tom Tresh in AAA to call up and fill in. The best approximation for Tom Tresh as a player today is someone in the JD Drew level of talent. Today, a Tresh-like guy would NEVER be someone you could keep stashed and available in AAA — he'd be a starting outfielder somewhere, assuming the team hadn't, for salary purposes, moved Mantle for prospects in order to free up room for him. And assuming the Yankees would have been in a position to take him in the draft to begin with. (Note: In real life, Tresh was signed as an amateur free agent.)

    Today, the guy coming up to replace an injured player is, at best, a very young A-level player who projects to be a starter in the very near future, or a AAAA-type of guy who can at least patch a hole for a while. It's not — except in the case of relief pitchers, who are so unpredictable that they can literally come out of nowhere — someone who is a more-than-capable B-level talent who happens to be a backup player. Those just don't exist anymore — not in a world where Gil Meche, a decent but unspectacular (and perpetually injured) starter gets $10M a year from the Royals. Those guys are starting on the "small market" teams, and generally getting paid a hell of a lot more than they should.

    This is why I react so violently to LateToDinner's indictment of Theo Epstein — LTD's view of how things "should" be simply cannot exist in today's world. Between expansion, the 40-man-roster, minor league free agency, and the Rule 5 draft, you simply cannot develop more than 7-10 truly valuable prospects in a minor league system unless you have immediate openings at the major league level. And this leads to a dearth of replacement-level players on every roster. Which leads, inevitably, to injuries causing vastly greater chaos to a team and its fortunes that it did in the past. That's the new reality, and we have to live with it. All you can do is assemble the pieces you can as best you can using the best information available to you at the time you must make a decision, and hope for good health. Expecting anything more of a GM — any GM, small market or big market — is either mouthbreathing pinkhattism, Monday morning quarterbacking, or talk radio rabble-rousing.

    Okay, I'm off my soapbox. Carry on….

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  3. Can somebody explain to me why Beckett insists on Varitek as his personal catcher when he shakes off Tek's signs so often? It seems every pitch that Beckett called off got hammered last night. Go figure.

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  4. Given that Kathryn and Jade left, to keep NESN from looking like a frat party gone sausage fest, they will have to shell out Carl Crawford-like money to keep Heidi. Sam Steele? Clarissa Thompson? <insert beautiful blonde that would shoe-in perfectly at Bristol>

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  5. With the free-fall of the Red Sox continuing, there has been a lot of blathering on sports radio and talk shows about the teams "lack of heart" (Felger and Maz have been constantly throwing this out) or "Francoma not throwing his players under the bus." (Steve Buckley has lead this charge) On the other hand, we see why Alex Speier has become one of the top media personalities in the Boston market. His article does exactly what a good writer should do. He states an argument and then backs it up with many facts. Speier tells the reader the number one problem with the Red Sox is starting pitching. He does this without absolving the other parts of the team. The lackluster hitting and the substandard defense. Speier says that you do not want the other two things to happen but they can be overcome with good starting pitching. I look at the last two starts and it proves Speiers argument in two different ways. On Eric Bedard's start, Bedard looked like he was in pretty good shape through two two-thirds innings. Josh Reddick misplays a line drive and the third inning continues. Here is where you need Bedard to get out of the inning instead of pitching to four more batters and getting knocked out of the game. Last night Josh Beckett is spotted to a 4-1 lead in the seventh. This should be more than enough for an ace but Beckett gives the lead away to of all people, Mark Reynolds, who has been terrible this year. Finally it is so refreshing to have some like Speier who does not have a look at me attitude.

    The 2-6pm hour continues to be an abyss on sports radio. Felger and Maz continue to be just dreadful. Felger has lately questioned the masculinity of Tom Brady and continually called Josh Beckett a "fake Texas tough guy", while ironically acting like a tough guy himself. I have a question, do you think Mike would mock Beckett or Brady to their faces? I didn't think so. Felger's pet parrot continues to say, "Squawk, your absolutely right Mike, squawk." By the way, it seemed funny how Felger did not mention that those soft Red Sox fans booed the hell out of the home team after last nights game. Oh that's right, he would have to admit he was wrong.

    The good news for F&M continues to be that Glen Ordway is still on the air. Glen obviously did not take a tape home of his fill-in duty on the Dan Patrick show. Ordway was pretty good. The reason is the Dan Patrick show is structured. You have a topic, there is banter, and callers state a point without interruption and there is no conversation. The show then goes to the next topic. Ordway interrupted a caller early on and did not do it again. My guess is the Danettes told him we do not do that here. I listened to the Big show twice for a total of one minute. The first time Mike Adams is telling the world that he wanted Tampa to beat the Yankees so the Red Sox could win the division. The second time Ordway was still being Ordway, yelling over his supposed co-host Holley about the Red Sox and not letting him get a word in edgewise. Felger and Maz are praying that Jason Wolfe and Julie Kahn honestly believe that going to FM will cure all of WEEI ills. If Wolfe an Kahn believe this then they will be shown the door faster that their dreadful on-air personalities and F&M will continue to thrive during this period.

    In the category of time heals all wounds, I was surprised that NESN hired Dale Arnold to be the studio host. If you recall, when Dale was let go he went on a rant on how NESN lied when telling the media about Arnold leaving. Arnold also said being a studio host would be a step back in his career. NESN I think knew they could get Arnold at a cheap rate and Arnold needed a full-time gig. In the end as Michael Corleone said, "It's nothing personal, it's just business."

    I know it is on the back burner, but Howard Bryant wrote a very good article on the NBA lockout. You may agree or disagree with what Bryant wrote but it is very well written. http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/commentary/story/_

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    1. One more thing on Felger that I forgot to mention. I firmly believe that F&M will again be looking up in the ratings. The reason came a few days ago when a caller went on their show to criticize how F&M were behaving on air. The caller said Felger was taking too many personal shots at players and was doing too much screaming. The caller said he stopped listening to WEEI because of this type of behavior. Felger cut him off and said then you should not listen to us either. There are three other people who used to respond the same way when criticized, although they did it with a more snide tone. They are John Dennis, Jerry Callahan and Glen Ordway. Maybe Felger should take a hint.

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  6. I think Ordway just found out a few days ago that the Red Sox have a high payroll because that’s all he’s been saying all week about how poorly they are spending their money. If you really want to see how big market teams spend poorly look at the Dodgers and the Mets. This front office did twice what nobody else could do in 86 years. They have made mistakes but it is not their fault that guys like Colon & Garcia chose to be on major league rosters over Pawtucket as insurance in case Dice-K or Bucholz got hurt. When guys get injured they get replaced with guys who aren’t major league players. It happens everywhere. It has nothing to do with payroll.

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  7. One thing I would love to have analyzed is the completely diametric media that has come to show both sides of its face. I get that part of it has to do with the specific town we're in and fans but basically, in a matter of 7 months, everyone has gone from:

    – Free Agency/Hot Stove: Theo/Tito are the best of all time. 1927 Yankees best.
    – Start 2-11: Theo and Tito suck. Didn't address free agency. Fire one of them.
    – Go 70-33 or whatever; Theo and Tito, again, are the best. 1927 Yankees. Yankees done, won't make playoffs. Pop the champ.
    – Free agency up till playoff roster expansion: I see people going both ways with trying to address some starting pitching but the offense will carry any team (hard to score 12 every night though).
    – September until now: A growing crescendo of WHO TO BLAME! Someone must pay with their job! Theo can't be a good GM! Tito can't manage and let everyone relax.

    Has anyone noticed that this "cycle" might have fueled and exacerbated/augmented some of the fan disappointment? I am not saying that what is going on now doesn't have anything to do with being disappointed, but lets ask a legitimate question: did the media/analysts/experts miss the fact in the first place that maybe certain needs were not addressed in the off season? the rotation was overlooked and depth not addressed?
    My point is that maybe if the media had not completely overhyped things, abdicating all responsibility for overhyping the team instead of maybe reconsidering that they missed something when covering the team, maybe the writing would be a bit different now.

    Just my two cents.

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