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.

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