Roche: Red Sox Collapse Falls On Players

A Sports Blog By WBZ-TV's Dan Roche

BOSTON (CBS) – Think about it because I don’t think it’s really clicked yet for a lot of people: the 2011 Boston Red Sox suffered the biggest collapse in MLB history.

And with that, there’s going to be plenty of blame to go around.

John Tomase of the Boston Herald wrote of starting pitchers drinking beer in the clubhouse during games. Bob Hohler of the Boston Globe added fried chicken and blatant disregard to working out.

The Globe story also brings up Terry Francona’s marital woes among other things.

John Henry talks of not knowing what was going on.

Theo Epstein and Francona have talked about taking part of the blame for what happened. Ownership needs to own up to it as well.

But in my mind it’s pretty clear: this collapse falls on the players.

From Josh Beckett to John Lackey all the way down the line…

Read: Dan Roche’s Sports Blog

These multi-millionaires should be beyond embarrassed for what happened to this team in September. They quit on their owner, their general manager, their manager, their fans, their teammates, and themselves.

Now, to lump every player into that statement is not fair. Dustin Pedroia cares as well as many others. However, there were too many players that quit. Shame on them.

If I were John Henry I would do two things.

First, I would identify the problem players and would send those that I can packing. Lackey and others… good-bye.

Next, the ones that you need to rely on… especially with monster contracts… like Beckett and Lester…I would do this: get on my plane and find them. Head to their homes, sit them down, and start demanding. If John Henry is paying these players exorbitant sums of money then he should demand that they get their butts into the best shape of their lives. Bring them to Fort Myers if you have to and work them out every day.

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If they won’t,  file a grievance with the commissioner and the players association. Just to make your point. They basically threw away your money last season.

Now, I do think that these players will do this because of how embarrassed they will be. It will be a matter of pride. We’ve seen these guys battle their butts off on- and off- the field before en route to winning World Series. Lessons learned one would hope.

We all know that these men are just big kids playing a game. And, like kids, they can get out of control at times.

Time for the big kids to learn a lesson.

More from Dan Roche
  • NikW

    They should all be embarrassed. They let their fans down. FIrst of Theo needs to go. I don’t think Tito is to blame. Lackey GOOD BYE and Paplebon ego well gee he better get rid of it.

  • chilitokid

    Give someone an inch and they’ll take a mile….so true. I wonder how many people will be booing the heck out of this year’s team during Game 1 next year? NONE because all will be forgotten. I’m glad I’m not one of the suckers who paid these under achiever’s salaries because if I did I’d be seeking to get my money back plus interest plus penalty.

  • DoverDavid

    The players are totally to blame! Regardless of the management, their the ones on the field playing the actual game. Tito says they can have the beer “because their not kids” well I couldn’t have a cookie if I didn’t eat my peas, take the beer away from them when their not preforming up to their world class salaries! So it’s those on the field who ultimately let us down, yeah the management has to take part of the blame, but poor playing is what lead to a world class team falling from grace.

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  • pat

    Sorry Tito – most adults don’t get to drink on the job. Alcohol should not be allowed by any player, coach or manager during a game – even when everyone is playing well. There are ramifications to poor performance in any job and the higher up the salary chain you are the harsher/swifter the penalty for bad performance is. Time for several players to face the consequences of their actions (inaction may be more accurate).

    • FireGuyFrank

      Agreed. By not stopping it at the very beginning, the deck was stacked.

      That said, the players must be held accountable by every citizen of Red Sox Nation.

  • Emmit066

    I have not worn a single stitch of Red Sox apparel that I own since they imploded and I will not until they prove that they are worth supporting. Are there guys on the team playing their hearts out every game, sure and most of them are in Pawtucket. Maybe next time they should send most of their undeserving starters down to Pawtucket & let the guys who really want to play a chance to shine. Will they lose, possibly but they will give it their all every single time they hit the field.

  • Larry Menovich

    It’s not just the players-everyone in the organization has to share the blame from John Henry and his fingers in soccer, racing, NESN, Lebron, and baseball; Tom, looking good on camera, Werner; and Larry, throw them under the bus-it’s not our fault, Lucchino. I can think of no better way to tell the BRASS that we care about baseball and none of their other money making enterprises than to BOYCOTT the 2012 OPENING DAY GAME. Let the sellout streak end–they’ll get the message.

  • Just Sayin'

    I suppose the next thing you’ll here is the women these players invite into the clubhouse. I guess success has gone to their heads and that too bad. Time to do a royal cleaning and start getting rid of some ego’s is a good start. Trade everyone who is a problem & distraction to the team and draft people who have love for the game and are willing to try and win another championship. It’s not much to ask for from Red Soxc Nation is it?

  • Jeanne

    Bring Curt Schilling back to manage the Red Sox! He’ll get them in shape!

  • jaygee

    Very good thoughts Dan. I think the reason so many people were hoping Tampa Bay would beat these overpaid moaners is because most people like to see the underdog & underpaid beat the big money clubs.This team came out of spring training totally unprepared and that was Francona’s fault. The month of September was the fault of three-quarters of the team that had other things on their mind. Start all over and sign guys to smaller contracts who love to play and respect their uniform. Any player who is paid 10 to 15 million dollars a year to play a game should at least show an interest in winning. Of course, no player deserves that money in any sport.

  • Jerry Frey

    Accountants who can steal money and college presidents who deal the cheese to their families and friends, these people are the connected class. Overpaid athletes, Carl Crawford ($142 million – 7 years; .255 ba, 11 hr), Jayson Werth ($127 million – 7 years; .232 ba, 20 hr), and Adam Dunn (56 million – 4 years; 159 ba, 11 hr), these people belong to the connected class. My favorite story concerns Charlie Weis, former head coach at Notre Dame, who failed to resurrect Lou Holtz glory and was paid millions to go away. And of course: Albert Haynesworth “made almost $35 million in just 20 games for Washington.:

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  • Paul Mullin

    Drama Ortiz…Drama……Its only Drama when it doesn’t go yourway! When baseball is over, so will you Would love to see the Yankees, pick you up. and sit your fat POPPY on the bench for a whole year. Becuase they do things the RIGHT WAY.

  • Yikes

    Sad to say, most sports players nowadays are all about the money, and the teams are willing to pay them outrageous amounts of it and they are not held accountable. Look at the Matsuzaka, the Sox paid him millions before he was even here, and has he performed up to expectations based on all the money he’s making? They have been allowed to demand money and not perform and it gets worse. Anyone in a normal job doesn’t perform they get fired. How about a clause in every sports contract that if they don’t perform to a certain level they get fired and have to pay back 50% of all earnings to date. That might be the needed push.

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