Did you see Sox failure coming? I did

Buffalo Bills v New England Patriots
It may seem silly for me to contend that I saw this short exit by Boston in the postseason coming given I picked Boston to win the whole shebang in 7, but... I'm not in the least bit surprised by what happened. I think part of the reason why I didn't really talk about it and hedged in person about the Sox's chances is because I didn't particularly want to admit it. Oh, make no mistake: This was a World Series-caliber team, and I'm singing a different tune this morning if Jonathan Papelbon had any clue that you can't just throw a fastball and expect to get away with it. But this was also a team that could exit stage-left rather quickly. The bats went cold, the starting pitching was decent enough, and the bullpen was solid -- but nowhere the fearsome combo it was earlier in the season. The big thing, for me, though? What really got me is the lack of energy I saw with the team.
Buffalo Bills v New England Patriots

It may seem silly for me to contend that I saw this short exit by Boston in the postseason coming given I picked Boston to win the whole shebang in 7, but… I’m not in the least bit surprised by what happened.

I think part of the reason why I didn’t really talk about it and hedged in person about the Sox’s chances is because I didn’t particularly want to admit it.

Oh, make no mistake: This was a World Series-caliber team, and I’m singing a different tune this morning if Jonathan Papelbon had any clue that you can’t just throw a fastball and expect to get away with it.

But this was also a team that could exit stage-left rather quickly. The bats went cold, the starting pitching was decent enough, and the bullpen was solid — but nowhere the fearsome combo it was earlier in the season.

The big thing, for me, though? What really got me is the lack of energy I saw with the team. And I’m not talking that unquantifiable energy that people like to trot out when the offense is being silenced by a good pitcher — that’s not a lack of energy, that’s a good pitcher dominating an offense that just can’t get it together. I’m talking energy in the dugout, with teammates.

I’m talking pointing to the dugout and having the dugout go wild, like the Angels. I’m talking pies in the faces. Can you believe the Yankees do this? The starched, straight-laced Yankees?

I can. Because they aren’t starched and straight-laced anymore. Importing Johnny Damon was only the first step. CC Sabathia, Nick Swisher, AJ Burnett and the youth infusion of players like Joba Chamberlain and Robinson Cano along with the fiery Jorge Posada and Derek Jeter… these guys all like each other and relish playing in games.

Part of why I always disliked the Yankees is because they played like it was a business. It’s no surprise — teams generally take on the identity of general managers and managers. It’s only natural — you acquire what you like, and unless you have self-esteem problems, you like yourself. You naturally gravitate to people you click with. You naturally gravitate to people with reputations you like. Theo Epstein didn’t like that Orlando Cabrera went out at night to party. So what happened? He was gone.

Brian Cashman tried for years to fit his personality with a winning team. He brought in solid, business-like players and then when the cracks showed after 2001, tried bringing in more. Then he compounded it by bringing in bad attitude players. He cleaned house of those, then started over with Johnny Damon.

Theo Epstein is in the same boat. Epstein, by all accounts, is reserved, private, thoughtful… and business-like. Now, I’m not saying that’s a bad thing to have in a general manager. I have no problems with Epstein nor do I have problems with his personality.

But those traits do not make a World Series team. The lasting image of the 2007 championship is not J.D. Drew’s calm demeanor (although that grand slam was awesome). The lasting image is Papelbon doing an irish jig.

I remember, through the 2003-2004 Cowboys and Idiots hearing either Epstein or someone attribute a comment to Epstein (sorry it’s unsubstantiated, so take from it what you will) that Theo wanted to change the culture of the team to be more reserved, quiet, professional … in other words, change the team to be more like himself.

Don’t get me wrong — the Sox have very fiery people on this team. Dustin Pedroia. Jonathan Papelbon. But the cohesiveness and looseness is gone.

THAT is what made me privately worried about the Sox’s chances.

I tried to communicate this somewhat during my writings — while I contended that Boston had a great chance to win the World Series (which, by the way, they did) I also tried to hedge by talking about their weaknesses and other team’s strengths. For example, I called Boston and the Angels an overall push except for Boston’s bullpen. What put it over the edge was the Angels’ energy. It may be a simplistic explanation, and maybe the answer is that it was simply Boston’s offense. But I don’t think it was.

I’m reminded of a phrase by the great Branch Rickey that I think applies to the Sox.

“I don’t understand a man that won’t practice, who is satisfied, perfectly happy with being mediocre – when he might be great. He goes to his grave with the label on his coffin: dumb. But he wasn’t dumb; he just had no great energy, no great purpose. He was satisfied to be mediocre. It’s too bad, whether it’s a student in college or in a man’s business; it’s just too bad.”

The Sox certainly aren’t happy with being mediocre, obviously. But what jumped out at me was this: “[They] had no great energy, no great purpose.”

The teams with the energy and the purpose are the Angels and Yankees. Twins, too, but the Yankees also were better on the field. I’m not advocating that energy and cohesiveness are the end-all, be-all, but they’re a big part — especially in October. Out of the four AL playoff teams, I can honestly say the Sox were the least energized.

Categories: 2009 ALDS Los Angeles Angels New York Yankees

Born on the 37th anniversary of the the day Babe Ruth died (1985) which later became the day Jimy Williams was fired in 2001 (a monumental event at the time), Evan was too young to experience the pain 1986 brought, but a deep wound was sowed in 2003. Since then, Fire Brand has become a blog that Red Sox “club officials read,” as per Peter Gammons. Evan enjoys working out, writing, reading, quality television, science fiction and history and being newly married. He is a professional baseball journalist as well as president of a state non-profit and member of the Board of Directors for a national profit. (Twitter.)

39 Responses to “Did you see Sox failure coming? I did” Subscribe

  1. The Hound October 12, 2009 at 5:06 PM #

    Honestly I haven't been to the site as much as I used to, as I find all the multiple posts a little distracting from the previous 1-2 solid posts a day with in-depth analysis and discussion, but I needed a little familiarity with the loss yesterday.

    Evan – the post sums it up. At first I was going the other way, and wanted to solely blame it on the performance on the field, but you have made a great point. There was no energy. In fact, the Sox looked the way they played and vice versa. They were zombies out there. That was pretty clear, at least to me.

    Normally I don't agree with much of what the Boston sports media says, but they are right I feel when they say the club is entering a period of transition. This off-season will be quite telling for not what we should expect of the Sox in 2010, but for a few more years down the line.

    Questions abound with age, lack of positional prospects being ready, and the free agent market pretty thin. One thing I know is that the Brass is creative, and I hope they will in fact be pro-active instead of re-active.

  2. evanbrunell October 12, 2009 at 1:11 PM #

    Thanks for the note on the multiple posts, Hound. I actually have been working on cutting back that type of stuff. In the offseason, there will be only 1-2 posts a day. In the regular season, there will be 3, and haven't decided if I want to bring back the 4th (game recaps). Don't hesitate to provide feedback: this site is for you guys, not me.

    • hey October 12, 2009 at 5:21 PM #

      C'mon man…what happened to the "This team was built for the post season" comments. The real problem started when Manny was traded, and was reinforced when Ortiz declined. The offense isn't what it once was.

      • Gerry October 12, 2009 at 6:56 PM #

        yes and no. The offense delivered 200+HR for the first time in a while, and were at or near the top in most offensive categories.
        Evan is onto something. This team is not as wild and crazy as it was. IMO, the talent is greater, but the wackiness is gone. Pap's jig may have been the last hurrah for that kind of spirit, and he was soundly trounced by media and fans for it. Manny's rolling around on the ball, and high-fiving the fan were great theater, comedy, great fun in what is, after all, a game. But he was vilified for both.

        J.Bay outhit Manny this year, but Manny's errors were exciting. Damon was replaced by Jacoby. Damon was a hoot. So were Julian Tavarez and Millar. Howzabout a hotfoot, Pedro? I heard a Boston talking head dismissing the Yankee pie in the face as juvenile and dangerous. Despite the intensity of Pedroia, Youkilis, Papelbon, Martinez, Ellsbury, Drew, Veritek, there was no spark. No spark, no fire. The Angels have it. The Rays had it. The Rockies had/have it. Now, the Yankees have it????

  3. E_Rock October 12, 2009 at 2:40 PM #

    I miss my idiots… I'm glad to see that I'm not the only one who felt that this was something that was missing. (my old SN was MohawksRgay – Eric) Amidst all the talk of UZR's and BABIPx etc, I really felt that the lack of chemistry and exuberance was in the end going to be their undoing. Has nothing to do with OBP (which is apparently still good). To me a team with character, that has fun, that can pull itself out of a hole is the team that will go deeper into the playoffs. It kills me that the Yankees have found this, and to think they almost traded Swisher before he ever even set foot in the clubhouse before the season. I hate 'em and yet I envy 'em. Where do we go from here Evan?

    • evanbrunell October 12, 2009 at 3:21 PM #

      I plan on answering that question later this week!

  4. Daniel Rathman October 12, 2009 at 2:55 PM #

    I definitely agree that a lack of energy was involved here, and I think that losing Manny — as much as it hurt the offense — might've also hurt the clubhouse.

    Don't get me wrong, Jason Bay is a great guy, a professional player who's never a headcase or a problem. But sometimes you need that headcase to keep things loose. Manny laughing at Vicente Padilla fouling a ball into the ump's mask? Probably inappropriate, but certainly provides a little spark. Jason Bay patiently waits his turn at the plate, and gives high-fives when appropriate…but he doesn't exactly provide any leadership to the clubhouse.

    Manny used to, but he's gone. Varitek used to, but his suckitude and subsequent demotion sapped that. I think Theo might've actually seen this as a problem when he brought V-Mart in from Cleveland, because V-Mart has been known as a terrific clubhouse leader. But while Martinez immediately fit into the lineup, he never seemed to gel in the clubhouse.

    Certainly, in addition to adding another starting pitcher and a bat (plus perhaps replacing Bay in LF or Gonzalez at SS), the Sox need to bring some energy into the clubhouse.

    Start laughing now: I think we ought to bring back Sexy Lips.

    • John Garcia October 13, 2009 at 3:08 AM #

      You are right about VMart not fitting into the clubhouse. I blame Theo for that. Theo hates latinos, he hates their flamboyant ways. This is why Manny is gone, this is why Orlando was replaced with a back of the bus latino in Edgar, this is why outspoken Pedro was replaced with Matt Clement, this is why Ortiz wants out.

      Theo's culture of white goateed players, asians and an occassional latino in the middle bullpen or utility infielder role is a big problem. People in Boston don't mind, as they don't notice. But the Cracker Sox brand that Theo aggressively markets in Boston is not the way to win.

      Manny was the biggest hit. Ortiz will be the final straw. Poor VMart.

  5. Gerry October 12, 2009 at 6:59 PM #

    Could it be that the pressure to produce, combined with constantly negativite "put a fork in him" hue and cry from media and "fans" got to the players? I think so. Consider how good they are. Papi (.814, 28HR, 99RBI), Mike (. 290, .811, 17HR, 75RBI playing hurt), J.D. (.279, .914, 24HR, 84R), Buchholz, Daisuke, Papelbon, Saito, MDC, etc. were all made to feel like camel dung. Sox fans are fast exceeding Yankee fans in hating on their players. Sox media have always been equal to NY media in this regard. Hey, A.Gon, want to come to Boston and get pilloried? Why not?

    So who do we get this year? Among Harden, Sheets, Bedard, Lee, who's good for a laugh? How about Holliday, Halladay or A.Gon? Can we replace Mazz, Shaughnessy, Tomase?? Anything to get some positive feedback and a few good laughs.

    • Daniel Rathman October 12, 2009 at 3:10 PM #

      Orlando Hudson would be a perfect fit on this team if they had somewhere to play him.

      • E_Rock October 12, 2009 at 3:55 PM #

        I was thinking the exact same thing, both today and earlier last offseason. I think part of the problem is that; from a clubhouse standpoint, there has to be a nucleus of guys that know how to have fun and lighten up the mood to divert guys from wallowing too much. For all Manny did to earn his exit, he was helpful in this area beyond any credit he received. We need to get back to building a team with character, because as much as I love the Red Sox, that miserable bunch this year were difficult to watch

  6. UVMike October 12, 2009 at 3:44 PM #

    One of the things that frightened me was Francona saying that nothing was different in the club house on the morning of game three. Really? there was no change in attitude, no attempts to rally the troops? Francona sounded comfortable with this, but its clear that something needed to be done or said. That combined with pinch hitting lowrie for A-gon has left me with a bad taste in my mouth, and until I calm down a few weeks from now, Francona is firmly situated on my shit list.

    • evanbrunell October 12, 2009 at 3:58 PM #

      Yeah, he said something about how he didn't need to speak to them and rally them. I dunno, I was divided on how to feel about that.

  7. donna October 12, 2009 at 3:46 PM #

    i was privately hoping the team had taken a shot or two of somehting ( didn't it come out later that the 2004 team took shots of booze right before each game to loosen up?) before this last game.. yep the gas was on empty, no real spirited play / banter could i notice, no sense of having fun.. i think all this commentary is right on. and i think the Yankees have that spark now – they look like they are having a blast and having fun with each other. Dodgers look that way, too. all season long it did feel to me that any trades or plans should be to look toward the future and not save this year. something is fundamentally missing and a simple exchange of a player or three may not be enough. i left Boston because it was too stuffy/relatively unfriendly/cold. the West coast being more laid back – i found myself being impatient with things at times but have learned to relax more, too, and see the roses, smell the roses, taste the coffee and not inhale it to get a buzz,… i only wish folks had not booed Paps when he came out – JC! it wasn't exactly all his fault… and ,.. EVEN if it was – wouldn't it be cool to still love a guy for trying!!!??? i say – hell – i am ok with this season… a person at the gym today (a Yankee fan) tried to razz me today and i just gave it back ("hey, the Yanks didn't even make it to the playoffs last year, don't give me any crap"). the RS have been CONSISTENTLY a contender for a s long as i can remember in my lifetime. i am proud of the team and think it could be great if the something nebulous/energy/chemistry gets better… if they had ever found their groove this year and rode it like a freight train from hell they would be in the same place the Yanks are now.

    • evanbrunell October 12, 2009 at 3:59 PM #

      What bugs me the most about this taking a shot business is the media pounced all over it and the players had to fall all over themselves to say that it was a symbolic gesture, no one took shots except maybe a small sip, everyone just held the shot up in unity, etc. etc.

      Frankly in that situation I would have demanded they take the shot. One shot won't kill you in the game. It'll band you in unity and might even help shake the nervous cobwebs out. But it became a big production, so the players covered their butts.

      • UVMike October 12, 2009 at 8:47 PM #

        There are many wonderful things about the extent of media coverage today, but this is one of its drawbacks. Writers seem to like to get outraged about things, and that incident, something that doesn't seem to have been a problem at all gets made a huge deal out of. 50-60 years ago players drank in the dugouts to stay loose, a lot of things have changed since than, many for the better, but if we could all collectively loosen up a bit it would better for the sport.

  8. Mr furious October 12, 2009 at 7:33 PM #

    I think this was an area that Manny was missed. Sure there were days when the rest of the team probably wanted to throw a blanket party for him, but I think more days than not, Manny was a net positive—and helped keep things loose.

    It's one thing to be fiery and intense—the Sox seem loaded with those guys (Youk, Pedroia, Varitek)—or stoic (Bay, Drew) but you need a goofball. A guy who makes he game look fun and/or easy.

    I know he suffered through a horrible start, but did it ever look like Papi was having any fun this season? I think he missed the camaraderie with Manny as much, if not more than, the lineup protection.

    • UVMike October 12, 2009 at 7:54 PM #

      I wonder how much of this V-Mart brings to the table, it seems like he brings that jovial element what with his whackey hand shakes and all that, so perhaps a full season with the team will make him that guy.

      • John Garcia October 13, 2009 at 3:13 AM #

        V-Mart is just one Latino in a Dirt Dog clubhouse. Not enough to make a difference.

        No, the Sox future is Dirt Dogs. Yookies and Dustins and Clays. Throw an asian in the rotation and allow a mediocre latino to play utility infielder or middle relief and let the Dirt Dogs like JD Drew to take over.

        Expect Theo to make a move for a white, professional player with a goatee.

        The problem is Yook. Theo could have kept Manny. How? Trade Yook and bring in some latin flair. But Theo hates latinos.

        • marcos October 13, 2009 at 3:17 AM #

          I get it. Say your name is John Garcia and the write rasist comment. And then accuse theo of being rasist. How convenient?

        • Tom A October 13, 2009 at 10:36 AM #

          John Garcia doesn't have a clue what he's talking about. Please show me how a team that has been one of the most active in drafting and signing international latino talent is racist?

          So really, Youk, the one who finished second in the MVP last year was the problem, not Manny who decided that pushing over 70 year old team secretary's and not honoring his contract because he wanted to be paid more, was the problem?

          You really need to get a grip on reality John and stop viewing the entire world through race/nationality tinted glasses.

    • John Garcia October 13, 2009 at 3:14 AM #

      Papi has not been having fun in years. I remember in September, 2005, when he voiced his displeasure at Theo for running Pedro and Lowe out of town for Clement and Wade Miller. That said it all. Theo was moving to a whiter, more pure clubhouse at that time. Theo hates latinos.

      • ericinboston October 13, 2009 at 4:10 PM #

        what's it like inside your head?? the level of crazy you bring is off the chart. this is fun!!

  9. Craigga October 12, 2009 at 9:47 PM #

    http://www.4SportBoston.com predicted Sox in 5 in this series but after Game 1, it was pretty obvious they wouldn't cut it.

  10. Gerry October 12, 2009 at 10:25 PM #

    I wonder, too, how much of a negative impact, among the players and coaches, that the difficulties of old friends, old clubhouse leaders, old fellow WS warriors like Tek, Papi, Mike, Wake contribute??? These guys say they don't pay attention to the media or the blogs, but they do, and they were needlessly unkind. We learned during the season and post-season that these guys are, after all, only human. Take it further. Pap and Papi have led the Sox to hundreds of wins. This year they were both booed, at Fenway, by their supposed fans. Donna is right about what that means. The look on Pap's face in the dugout said "I got it", loyalty comes only with success. Why would he ever think of getting paid? Kind of like the old Roman arenas. Shame on them, shame on us.

    • ericinboston October 13, 2009 at 4:20 PM #

      gerry, i think you touched on something interesting here. i was bummed out how often some of the guys were booed during the season. while i watch the game less like a fan than i used to i still couldn't help but find it disheartening to hear ortiz booed so often early in the year as well as 'tek and papelbon as you pointed out.

      obviously we're in a 'what have you done for me lately' society so i kinda get it. there's always chatter among RSN about 'new age fans' or the 'pink hats' or whatever you want to call them. while i believe we all have a right to buy a jersey and a ticket if we can afford it i can't help but wonder if there's some life to that. makes me wonder who was booing? was it these "new" fans or the gritty old school fans who still hang onto 1986 and decades of garbage baseball from the old towne team.

      anyway, my point is… if papelbon is sitting in that dugout listening to 37K+ boo him 'til their blue in the face after he's done somethign he's never done before (give up a run in the post-season) where will his loyalty lie when it comes time to negotiate for his contract?

      i know if i've given all ive got to a city and i wind up having 1 bad performance at the worst possible time and this is how quickly they'll turn on me… i'd be less than inclined to remain loyal to them, the city they live in, and consequently the organization.

  11. Tek Hater October 13, 2009 at 3:16 AM #

    JD Drew for $70 mill and Dice K for $106 mill were two of the worst moves ever. $176 million for mediocre effort and no leadership. Both players will bore you to sleep before they make you stand up and cheer. Theo's fault.

    And Tek should not be captain. Most boring and overrated player ever. Manny should have been named captain.

    • marcos October 13, 2009 at 3:22 AM #

      I was going to write how great JD is, but waste my time? Your argument is flawed . But all your credibility went out the window when you suggested manny as team captain.

  12. disturban October 13, 2009 at 9:27 AM #

    @ John Garcia – You are a fucking moron. Please crawl back in the hole from which you came.

  13. John Garcia October 13, 2009 at 11:33 AM #

    So many people blind to truth. Dirt Dog nation hates latinos. All about white guys with goatees. Allow an occassional latino in middle relief or as a utility infielder, but otherwise Tek and Yookies are the way to go.

    Look at the farm system and all the players coming up through the farm. In 7 seasons, not one latin born player. Coincidence? No. Dirt Dog philosophy.

    • marcos October 13, 2009 at 9:27 AM #

      All of this is coming from a latino named John. If that name doesn't scream latin, I don't know what does. Chump, I bet you don't even speak spanish. Right "John"?

    • Tom A October 13, 2009 at 11:56 AM #

      Because we aren't in the midst of replacing that "dirt dog" catcher Varitek with Victor Martinez. By ignoring blatant facts like that you're clearly just showing you have blinders to everything that doesn't fit your "world view".

  14. E_Rock October 13, 2009 at 3:37 PM #

    there's no way you can convince anyone else here that "Theo hates latinos." that is ridiculous beyond belief. Tek and Yookies??? that's why Tek is being replaced with Martinez – and that was confirmed yesterday in a press conference by Theo. at best Tek can hope for a back up role at this point. are you really basing your argument on skin color and facial hair preference? pathetic

    then look at the deal that would have traded nearly ALL of the "white" prospects to Seattle/San Diego (in a 3team deal) for FELIX HERNANDEZ. Boston was all for that deal until Seattle became gun-shy and backed out: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/marinersblo

    I can't wait for Jose Iglesias, Reymond Fuentes, and Stolmy Pimentel to come through the system, then cry babies like you will have nothing to cry about except that you'll likely start the "oh their front office and coaching staff is all white" argument. you'll never be satisfied, which is why this is the last time I'll even dignify your comments with a reply. I will give any of your comments the thumbs down, while from here on boycott responding to any and all of your comments

  15. ericinboston October 13, 2009 at 4:09 PM #

    evan, with all due respect as i really enjoy the site this is one of the worst things you've put up.

    my high school baseball coach used to yell at our team for not having any emotion prior to games on in the 3rd inning of a 0-0 game. i always found this to be dumb. baseball is not a sport, as francona pointed out in his interview prior to game 3, like football where there is rah-rah and high emotional peaks involved. baseball is a game where it pays to be patient and calculated.

    while i agree that these teams are slightly less fun to watch and follow than the '04 idiots at the end of the day it wasn't long hair or kevin millar's bleached tips that won the world series… it was quality baseball. it was good at bats in key spots, catching the ball when in the field, and keith foulke pitching 'til his arm fell off.

    finally, i will say that the common thread with the angels and yankees this past week was that they had something to celebrate. there were no cart wheels in the dugout prior to abreu's double or vlad's basehit. when willits got picked off their dugout was mum just like ours was as pedroia punched a weak liner to aybar.

    we all recognized this teams struggles on the road and the fact that papelbon was less effective this year than any of his previous three. that's what made me nervous. not the lack of playoff beards.

    • E_Rock October 13, 2009 at 4:34 PM #

      good point, I will agree that everyone looks like they're having fun when they're winning. I think the point that you're missing is that there needs to be that guy(s) that keep the clubhouse loose during a losing streak, or after losses in the playoffs. Collectively they need to be able to shake it off. IMO they were mired in their lack of success. They seemingly didn't have that spirit/attitude to just bounce back as they've had before.

      Couldn't disagree more, though, that baseball is not a sport and that it does not contain emotional peaks. I have witnessed many games in which the Sox fell behind early, only to take the lead, give up said lead the next inning, only to come back and win late. To say that there are no peaks involved in a game/week/month/season emotionally is to insinuate that these players are not emotionally invested in their profession. When I don't get something right at work, I get frustrated. So to when things go well by my hand do I become excited. Even if baseball is a job/business for these guys, it is a game/sport simultaneously, which they and the fans are emotionally connected to.

      • ericinboston October 13, 2009 at 7:27 PM #

        let me clarify… baseball, to me, is more like golf than it is football. obviously a professional sports competition involves emotional peaks and valleys. these people are uber-competitive pro athletes.. it's understood.

        but i dont believe that yelling and screaming and "win one for the gipper" speeches works in baseball. in fact, i think getting fired up will be wildly counterproductive. that's what i was trying to convey and i apologize for not presenting that correctly.

    • ChiTomA October 13, 2009 at 6:11 PM #

      I think you're dead on Eric and its no disrespect to Evan. The 2004 team was a once in a lifetime team and admittedly a lot of fun. However, the 2007 team was much more "professional" and still was just as good in the playoffs. The examples Evan cites for their character is Papelbon doing the Irish jig. But if the Sox had pulled out wins Sunday, Monday and tomorrow, who's to say he and Pedroia wouldn't be going wild again? The fact of the matter is that we lost because the playoffs this year for the Sox were just three games where the bats went cold and Paps underlying issues blew up on him. If we'd gotten hot like we had in late August/early September, we wouldn't be complaining about this team's "cold" demeanor.

      The best team of the last 15 years were the 1996-2000 Yankees, much as I hate to say it, and they were an extremely professional team. It was only after they started adding the likes of Giambi, Kevin Brown, and Randy Johnson that they didn't win. Do I think this is why they didn't win? Of course not, but I'm just saying that the things Evan tries to argue are subjective and vary amazingly across many types of winning teams.

      The Red Sox aren't the only team to have had problems with Manny Ramirez and would anyone have wanted Pedro for the last 5 years? Don't really think so. OCab, much as I love him, has also had plenty of issues with the other teams he's been on. About the only player we've cut ties with from the 2004 team that's made us regret the decision was Damon.

      I'm sure Theo will be more concerned with improving team defense, shoring up the pitching depth, and adding an impact bat than with making sure he has a loose team that has a lot of fun. The Sox are a better team because he thinks this way.

      • ericinboston October 13, 2009 at 7:29 PM #

        i just want to emphasize, as you stated, there is no disrespect to evan intended here. 99% of the material on the site is great.

        this, however, i think is a little knee jerk.

    • Dante October 14, 2009 at 3:19 AM #

      I agree that usually baseball is not nearly as emotionally driven as other sports…but I think there is something to being a hungry team…the yankees and angels were clearly playing with more purpose and hunger than the sox all year…i mean, the last 2 series in NY were very telling to me…the Yankees played those games like the playoffs and the sox were kind of ho-hum, especially the last series..

      .it just never felt like the 'sox' year'…something was missing with this team, not sure what it was…sometimes it's just not your year…….also, I thought the way Boston fans turned on this team in august was one of the most disgusting things ive ever seen…not sure if the people on the boston.com message boards are indicative of the majority of sox fans, but it was sad stuff to see…either way, very disappointing end to the year, but you know the organization will be aggressive in improving and we'll have another crack at it next year………go sox