Today, one of our readers ‘Don’ was kind enough to give us a nudge on some Francona material that is circulating throughout the baseball world, but had yet to be addressed here on Fire Brand. Certainly, we would like to be a full-time, crack staff who is providing feedback, analysis and keeping you on top of every detail, but unfortunately that is hard to do. We are journalists and bloggers who love the Red Sox and do this out of passion, not for compensation. (Though I will say any executives who may be interested in pilfering our talented staff for employment is welcome to do so.)

All of that being said, ‘Don’ is right. We need to weigh in on some of this Francona action so I am going to break it out with my opinions on each particular quote Chip Buck-style. Please note that these are solely my semi-erratic, passionate responses and someone like Charlie, Alex or Troy might think I am completely wrong, but so be it.

Dustin Pedroia on Francona’s exit (from the NESN website):

“We get paid a lot of money and the biggest thing that I am upset with, and I think a lot of guys are upset with, is the accountability of each other. It’s not the manager’s fault. We need to hold ourselves more accountable as a team, as players. There are a lot of things that went on that was disrespectful and we played like it.”

This is what I want to hear. No bull from Pedroia. This team didn’t do what we all thought it would do — make the postseason. They should be embarrassed and now that we are hearing about a fractured clubhouse, personal agendas and lack of loyalty it should come as no surprise to anyone that they fumbled and fell on their faces. I don’t agree that it’s ‘not the manager’s fault’. I am a manager in my line of work.  Granted, it’s not professional sports, but I manage 25 employees and if they fail, I fail. Terry Francona is on the hook just as much as Pedroia is. What I want to hear from any leader is accountability. No excuses. Pedroia is a gamer and it will be interesting to see how he adjusts to not having Tito around next year. But he gave us accountability here unlike our next player….

Adrian Gonzalez speaks of the team’s travails (as reported by the Globe’s Peter Abraham):

“We play too many night games on getaway days and get into places at 4 in the morning. “This has been my toughest season physically because of that. We play a lot of night games on Sunday for television and that those things take a lot out of you.” Abraham responded to Gonzalez that teams like the Red Sox and Yankees have long had those challenges, it’s part of playing for a high-profile team. “Why does it have to be?” Gonzo said. “They can put the Padres on ESPN, too. The schedule really hurt us. Nobody is really reporting that.”

This sickens me. He’s also said this was God’s will. Don’t start bringing God into this Adrian. There is no higher power sitting around pulling strings of failure on your first season in Boston. Just shut up and say it was your fault. In fact, grow up or go back to San Diego where baseball is an afterthought. Here in Boston it is everything and everything to us means you better not blame it on anyone but yourself. Lie if you have to but don’t start blaming the schedule. I hate to agree with the ubiquitous pot-stirrers like Mike Felger and Tony Mazz but you leave us no choice when you fail slowly in front of the world and blame in on Sunday Night Baseball.

Grow up. And for the record, no one wants to see the San Diego Padres on Sunday Night Baseball.

Drinking Beer

The Boston Herald reported one divisive issue, citing sources as saying that pitchers were allowed to drink beer in the clubhouse on their off-days. A Red Sox source not only confirmed to that was the case, but also said that it “has been going on for two years.”

I really don’t care about this to be quite honest. As long as no one is rolling joints or doing lines of cocaine, I could care less if beers are being consumed in the clubhouse. Hardly the first time it’s been done, but I do have a problem with it if it’s a key reason why Josh Beckett gained 18 pounds during the year. That is just belligerent irresponsibility if the speculation proves to be true. Where is the leader on this team? Who is the leader in the rotation? Certainly not Beckett or John Lackey. Dice-K is toast, Buchholz is still a kid in some respects and Jon Lester does not strike me as a guy who can fill that role. Drink all the beer you want but one of those pitchers needs to step up with some accountability.

Terry Francona from his press conference on Friday evening, talking about the attitude of some his players in 2011:

“I think it’s more expending your energy on things you can’t control. Whether it’s a sense of entitlement, I don’t know if that’s the right word or not. (I) just wanted our guys to all go in one direction.”

Where did this entitlement come from though? I can’t imagine it came from the two imports in Gonzo and Carl Crawford. No one could show up from small market teams and think they are King Shit. That means it came from and comes from some old stalwarts. I’m not getting into more speculation because frankly it’s poison, but I want to know whom.

Tim Wakefield on his personal goals (told to Fox Sports on Tuesday):

“I’ve definitely made up my mind that I definitely want to come back next year. have another goal in front of me that I’d like to accomplish, and that’s the all-time record for the Red Sox in wins. I’m only seven away. “I think the fans deserve an opportunity to watch me chase that record.”

Here at Fire Brand, I think I may be in the minority, but I cannot stand Tim Wakefield and I want him to go away — yesterday. I know Scott, Evan, Chip and others are much more neutral or supportive of Wake but this guy is a self-serving jerk who thinks his longevity throwing a gimmick pitch allows him to do whatever he wants. He complained he wasn’t in the rotation at the beginning of 2010. Really? Really, Tim? (Channeling Chip here…) Who exactly did you deserve to be in the rotation over? No I don’t think you are comptetive. I think you are a selfish old pitcher who desperately wants to be #1 in wins. WHO CARES? Wins are arbitartry and I’m not intetested in seeing you get lit up for 18 starts so that you might sneak out a handful more wins and claim that spot. Does it make you better than Cy Young or Roger Clemens? No. It doesn’t mean anything. Go away.

Also, nice timing on your comments. Because we are all concerned with your personal goal right now. We just witnessed this mega-squad crap the bed while Tampa Bay runs right past us laughing and you sit here saying ‘Me, me, me.”

Dear Larry Lucchino, axe this guy and tell Tom Werner this isn’t the Cosby Show. I want Fenway Park back.

Finally, I want to address one of our drive-by sniper readers who comes to us by way of Baltimore. Here is his exact comment — unedited:

Greetings from BALTIMORE, to all you sox fans. You Suck!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! To let a crappy team like our O’s pull your heart right out of your chest the way did the last couple weeks is pathetic!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Pedroia is a little faggot and so is Elsbury and Crawford LOL LOL!!!! ( I dont care about the spelling) You can take your 161 mil salary and shove it so far up your ass it comes out of your ear. You deserve every last bit of pain for this one. God you suck – How could you possibly fall apart like that???? Huh?? Please tell me???? Hey Francona why dont you come to Baltimore we have some lover for you – We wont treat you like THEY do!!

First of all, you are nobody. Homophobic slurs or not, you are nobody. Your team sucks so enjoy your mini-World Series because that is as close as you will come to any real success. The organization you root for is a 100-loss team and will continue to be so. You might be laughing today, but we laugh at you everyday. We invade your stadium and take over your park. You lose constantly and cannot compete. Your ownership is bad and you cannot compete in this division. You guys were all huffy and puffy when you signed some names of yesteryear. You all thought down there in Baltimore that you were in the thick of it his year, didn’t you? OOOPS! In February, I told you guys you wouldn’t win 65 games this year and your whole city flipped out! Haha. If it wasn’t for your Orioles matching up with the collapsing star that was the 2011 Red Sox, I would have been DEAD-ON!

So enjoy your moment in the sun Baltimore because next year we will be back and guess what? You won’t. Your Orioles are inept and your biggest hope is to play spoiler. That’s it. You might feel good today but just remember that Red Sox fans get to enjoy competitive teams year in and out. Some years we get a championship, other years we get bounced — but every year are back near the top. Every year you are sniffing our asses. How does it taste? High-five each other. Drink some beers, point and laugh. Your Dad’s Orioles sucked. Your Orioles suck and your kids’ Orioles will suck. Over the course of that time we will be competing for championships up here while you just shake an angry fist at our payroll. Laugh now, cry all year.

That’s it for my ranting. Take it for what it’s worth. I’m passionately rational. I don’t like to cause trouble within my fanbase, but I will gladly kick dirt on every other team especially when you come by poppin’ off at the mouth. The Red Sox might have failed in 2011 and we have to live that but unless you are a Yankees fan, you can’t say much because you know your place is still behind Boston.

If Tampa Bay wins a title then they can start playing in this king of the mountain game, but for now it’s the Yankees at the top of the mountain. If they want to brag or boast all you can do is try to fight back, but they always have the trump cards and you must respect that. Orioles fans…c’mon.

Go buy a Robert Andino jersey and tell your kids someday about how despite not winning more than 70 games year after year — there was that one time that they helped keep the Red Sox out of the playoffs.