Since Buster Olney’s column on Monday describing the Red Sox clubhouse as “Toxic,” there have been many other voices weighing on the state of the team’s chemistry. It’s a topic tailor-made for sports talk radio and television.

As you might expect, there are divergent opinions on the topic.

Debunking more myths when it comes to these ‘toxic’ Red Sox – On Tuesday, Rob Bradford launched an impassioned missive that said that Toxic is too strong a word, that people just don’t like teams that aren’t winning, and even if there are problems, it hasn’t nothing to do with the performance on the field thus far.

Bradford is making a name for himself as something of a Red Sox, and in particular, Josh Beckett apologist. He makes some valid points, and as usual, things are not always as bad as they seem, but it would be nice if he applied this logical, thought-out, reasonable approach to all topics. This is the same guy you recall, who spent the fall just screaming “TYLER PALKO!” for hours on end.

Jerry Remy: I don’t find it toxic at all – This morning on Dennis and Callahan, the NESN analyst painted the Red Sox as the good ship lollipop, noting how tight the players are, though he did say some of Valentine’s methods could cause some tension, such and not letting players know in advance if they have a day off or not. He also thinks Carl Crawford is going to come back and be the Tampa version of Carl Crawford. All is well!

Red Sox a house divided? – Sean McAdam paints a more serious portrait, stating that “emerging details of the 2012 Red Sox reveal the organization to be somewhat dysfunctional at nearly every level, more closely resembling a soap opera than a successful team.” He though, also notes that the players are tight, and that tension is aimed at Bobby Valentine and ownership. He also notes that some players have taken to bringing complaints directly to GM Ben Cherington, which immediately brings to mind the late 1990’s Patriots under Pete Carroll and Bobby Grier.

So where’s the truth? Or does it even matter?


33 thoughts on “Toxic, or Non-Toxic?

  1. First off, Rob Bradford traveled to Shank and Borges territory years ago. It seems right around the time he got in heavy with taking over This guy is completely in the bag for the Sox, especially Beckett. He opinion is so biased and is not shaped by what he sees, but simply what he “chooses” to hear (much like Borges and Shank). I really used to respect Bradford when he was at the Conn. paper then the Herald I believe. But ever since going to, he has adopted Fan-boy status and is afraid to be critical on anyone on Yawkey Way. Or maybe Beckett ruffied him on that boat in Texas some years back.

    This reminds me of the late 90’s Sox when Jimy Williams and Danny D often battled, with issues specific to Carl Everett and Pedro. Danny boy was in the bag for the players, and famously backed Crazy Carl when Jimy wanted some Management backing.

    1. Why do you care if you said you are not watching the games anymore? Do you just enjoy all the gossip about the team?

      1.  I’m not watching the games as much anymore, that’s true! But I listen to sports radio and watch sports channels so this is topic dejour. Got a problem with that?

        1. I just don’t understand the mentality of you and so many other fans out there. You say you don’t like the team and you don’t really watch anymore, yet you listen to sports radio and read opinion pieces about them and then feel the need to weigh in about how angry you are at the situation. Isn’t it more enjoyable to just watch the games and hope your team wins? So many Sox fans are like caddy junior high girls. “Oh my god did you know that Josh Beckett played golf yesterday?” “Did you hear what Rob Bradford said about Josh Beckett? He is the worst!”  Tune out all that stuff and just watch the games. It will make your sports watching experience much more enjoyable.

          1. Do you understand why this website was created? It’s called Boston Sports Media Watch. Is this your first time at the carnival? So because I’m not watching the Redsox as much anymore, I shouldn’t/can’t listen to sports radio? What if I want to hear Celtics, Bruins, or Pats talk? Should I tune out when Sox talk occurs? If you can’t stand this kind of talk by those of us who post here, then this probably isn’t the forum for you.

        2. I cant wait until the Sox get back into it and poser fans like yourself come back in droves claiming..”I love you guys!!!! I am such a huge sox fan!!”

          1.  You make no sense! It has nothing to do the RedSox as a brand or Team but specifically this particular collection of players and especially management. Should we just feed whatever Henry and Lucchino feed us about the BS collapse from last year? You probably eat that BS 3 meals a day. I bet you also thought Fried Chicken and Beer was no big deal. Do you think Josh Beckett actually cares about winning? Most Likely.

            While I don’t think Youk was a problem with the stuff last year, he clearly wasn’t happy, so addressing that issue was a step  in the right direction. Starting Middlebrooks everyday is another. All they need to do is get rid of Beckett and I’ll be happy because unfortunately we “fans” can’t trade owners.

            And don’t even get me started on being a poser fan. I’ve forgotten my RedSox knowledge then you’ll ever know.

  2. This is killing me, but I again think Felger is correct.  He has been arguing that the players get along fine in the clubhouse and that is one of the reason the clubhouse is toxic.  Because the players are willing to go along to get along there is no drive to be the best.  Average is acceptable…after all they are all getting paid. 

    I listened to the Buster Olney interview on Mutt and Lou’s show and he said basically the same thing.  The real problem is management’s acceptance of mediocre effort and that is what is causing the issues from Sr. management and ownership down to the players.  I am sure Bobby V wants things done more his way.  He has gotten slapped down a few times when these ideas got out.  i think as a unit the players disliked being held accountable.  Sr. management (Larry, Darryl and his other brother Darryl) are either incapable of or have made the conscious decision to not put performance above the business.  As such, they have effectively made their on field manager irrelevant.  By doing that they have given the players the excuse they need not to do what it takes to sacrifice to win.  The toxicity that does exist comes from the fact that some people in the organization do recognize that this is a completely dysfunctional setup.  The problem is those people do not have any power to effect change.  Hence the toxic environment.Some of us have been writing for a while now about how bad this Sox ownership is.  The standard response is they brought us two championships, cut them some slack and appreciate the accomplishments.  Regardless of how they won the championships the emphasis on the business side of the operation as opposed to the baseball side has caused now the 4th straight year of mediocre baseball for the fans.  But there is nothing to worry about…after all the Sox sold out yet again last night!

  3. The Red Sox are a collection of unikeable entitled jerks,  the mirror reflection of their fans. 

  4. All baseball clubhouses are exactly the same in spirit every season. Considering what ballplayers are like, and considering how much time they spend with each other in very claustrophobic spaces, it’s a wonder there isn’t one pregame homicide per season per team.
        The only difference is, when a team’s winning, nobody notices the innumerable petty feuds and jealousies except the players. And they laugh them off.

  5. This just in…

    Felger and Mazz spent the segment between 2:20-2:35 discussing how Miami winning the title is bad for the NBA. I took noted two specific things I thought were very interesting besides the actual content of what they were saying:

    1) Felger actually prefaced his comments by saying, and I’m paraphrasing “I’m sorry people, this is not meant to rail on the NBA” however he did not have his usual smug tone.

    2) Felger and Mazz actually made this argument with legitimate evidence backed up by facts, not Opinions. This difference with this rant on the NBA is how it came off. Felger likes to mention “Tonality” and I think that was at play during this rant.

    Could the powers at be have already affected Wally and the Beave?

    1. I wondered the same. For the past.. week? Since the ratings came out, I’ve noticed that they’re not as acerbic and caustic on certain things (keyword: certain — im not saying its like each are entirely different)

      On the NBA thing:

      They’re absolutely right, and they’re backing it. If LeBron wins, the fundamental “how to build a team” that Chris Broussard commented on, OKC/SAC-style vs. Heat. A few weeks back, he said that many GMs are looking at this finals as a “how to do it in the future”.

      If the Heat win, it validates the “Superstar-Driven” or “David Stern” NBA.

      Basically, unless you have a superstar or more, you have 0 chance of winning.

      This is an entirely separate topic but I think it’s worth noting because it means that maybe ~6 teams a year can win.

      Unfortunately, as they also noted, there is nothing anyone can do. The lockout was supposed to fix this and did nothing. Up until the owners not rewarded with playoff gate/potential championships and/or players on these teams do something, there is nothing the fan can do.

      1. Not to defend the Heat, because I can’t stand them, but what is the alternative to building a team? OKC? All they’ve done is been bad and lucky 3 years in a row to be able to pick 2,4, and 2 for 3 straight seasons. And I can’t emphasize luck enough, because if they got 1 instead of 2 in the 2008 draft than they have Oden and we aren’t even talking about this.

        1. Having the high picks is one thing. Making the right selection with those picks is another. You make it seem like having a top pick is surefire.

          1. So there were other options besides Durant and Westbrook? There are about 20 years of proof now that it is easier to build championship teams with lottery picks than it is through free agency. The only team who won a title with a major free agent signing in the last 20 years were the Lakers wuth Shaq. Everybody else besides Detroit in 2004 did it with a player on their team who they took in the lottery. Even the Lakers had Kobe to compltment Shaq as their big free agent signing. Tanking for lottery picks is by far more effective for team building than having cap space is.

          2. It won’t let me reply to your comment below.

            To go back against your point, drafting in the lottery again doesn’t guarantee success. What is James Harden went #2 in 2009, and the Thunder took Hasheem Thabeet? Or they passed on Harden and took Rubio or Jonny Flynn?

            What is Westbrook went #3 in 2008 and the Thunder got Mayo? Or they passed on Westbrook and took Eric Gordon.

            You can call it luck all you want, but I think there’s a different between luck and good drafting. See the Los Angeles Clippers 1989-2009 Draft History

          3. Winning, I never said it guaranteed success. I said its a more popular approach than free agency and is no more tactful or skillful. As for the Clippers, they for the most part drafted well in the lottery. They just never signed them past their first contract.

          4. What you said was “All they’ve done is been bad and lucky” and proceeded to downplay what they did in the draft attributing it strictly to luck. The GM in OKC knows what’s hes doing.

          5. They did get lucky, Winning. They got lucky that they got #2 in 07 instead 1, otherwise Oden is there. They were lucky in 08 to have Westbrook and Love to choose from, and they were lucky again in 09 to be picking 3rd. Theu placed in 2 lotteries in 3 years and picked 4th in the other one because they were the worst team who didn’t place in the lottery. You could even argue that they didn’t even draft the best player in 08 or 09. I don’t see how picking no worse than 4 for 3 straight years can be considered any more tactful or skillful than signing all-star players with cap space. The reason why OKC is so good now is a direct result of how bad they were 3-5 years ago. That’s not even really arguable unless you think the main reason they are in the Finals is because of Presti’s shrewd decision to keep guys like Collison on the roster and signing Daquean Cook.

          6.  I never argued with the point on why OKC is good. They got high draft picks because they were bad. My point which you seem to be missing consistently is that everything is luck. They CHOSE to draft the players, they weren’t given those players. Identifying talent and using resources leads to good drafting. Ever heard of Bill Belichick?

          7. The point you are missing is that they did not choose Durant. Durant chose them when the lottery balls fell right. And Westbrook and Hardwn arguably didn’t even end up being the best player they couldve taken in hindsight. It’s easy to draft well when you pick in the top 4 for 3 straight seasons. It does not take a special skill to do that. And no, I never heard of Belichick? Who is he? Does he have a history of drafting in the top 4?

      2. I have always agreed with this point and F&M on this topic, my problem has always been there general hate of the NBA. I just found that interesting today, considering like you mentioned, the ratings from last week.

        Unfortunately the NBA is screwed, and unlike the NFL, they don’t get it. Not only do the players control the traffic to cities, by choosing LA, NY, or MIA teams, but the refs then ensure that these superpower teams will win by giving them the necessary calls.

      3. I am really starting to wonder if the only solution to the NBA talent distribution problem is an actual hard cap.  make it difficult for a team to stock pile 2 franchise players never mind 3 or 4.  Spread the talent and make the entire NBA more mediocre but at least everyone would be on the same plane.  With the way things are 6 teams having a real chance would be a good year.  In reality it is 2 or 3 and we knew them before the year started.

        Of course the other solution to the NBA would be to shoot it and put us out of its misery! 🙂

      4. The solution to the lockout isn’t going to take effect in 6 months brainiac.  It’ll take 3 years before changes to truly be percieved.  The NBA has always been a superstar driven league and the nature of basketball.  If you have two great players you’ve got a shot to win it, if not, you’re doomed. 

  6. I think the Patriots start training camp near the end of July, in an undisclosed location near the Foxborough area. As a wise sage once said, ” If you’re not Bill Belichick or alcohol, fvck off.”
    I think that’s how you have to approach it.

  7. Ok, well I guess we are not in the clubhouse so you and I can not have opinion on the subject. That reasoning is pathetic, and anyone who using that automatically loses objectivity in my book.

  8. “No one in the rotation has an ERA under 4.”

    But Rob Bradford said Beckett has a sub-3 ERA if you don’t count his three worst starts!

    1.  And, he was called out on that. it is fun with people who do that.. and I’m surprised that a writer would put emphasis on it.

  9. Alex Speier had the best putdown of Felger I’ve ever heard.
    Our resident drama queen Michele Felger was carrying on and one last night about the toxicity of the Red Sox complete with pictures and graphics et al. with this big lead-up to Alex Speier and Alex replies “you’ve got a lot of free time on your hands”. Felger said nothing but did have a look on his face of a 10 yr old who just dropped his ice cream cone.
    It was a thing of beauty. I’m still chuckling…… 

    The 24/7 Boston sports media grows more toxic and more agenda driven with each passing day with sports radio being the foundation of much of the malignancy. Egos and agendas as big as anyone they cover in the world of sports.

    The neverending soap opera coverage of the Red Sox has been over ther top for awhile now. 


  10. I haven’t cared for Bradford in some time but he’s even worse now than he was before. He’s smug and arrogant without any reason for being so, and is fast becoming one of the biggest apologists for the organization and the team in the entire market. Worse, when someone disagrees with him, he has a condescending tone — even when challenged by the likes of Arnold or Buckley. 

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