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BOSTON (CBS) — If we are to believe Red Sox principal owner John Henry that Larry Lucchino runs the Red Sox, then we must place the majority of both credit and blame at his doorstep.
Today we have reached the All-Star break in Major League Baseball, and the Sox reside in last place of the American League East at 43-43. Since Sept. 1 of last season, the team has a record of 50-63 and is 20 games under 500 in games decided by 3 runs or fewer. In other words, the past 113 games have been a disaster.
Larry’s first order of business following the worst collapse in the history of our national pastime was to fire Terry Francona. The second was to smear his character by allowing leaks regarding his alleged abuse of prescription drugs and the insinuation that his marital problems prevented him from being himself as manager.
Meanwhile, reports surfaced that most of the starting pitching staff were drinking beer and stuffing their faces with Popeyes during games. Larry responded to this situation by having a couple of players do conference calls with the local media and having the team’s PR staff send out players’ “comments” lamenting their decisions during the collapse of September.
What Larry should have done was to get rid of the stench that was Josh Beckett, eat the money and move on. Rather, since Beckett is Larry’s guy, he thought that simply by changing the man who grabs the ball from him that the pitcher’s behavior and those around him would improve.
Larry and the Red Sox also changed medical staffs from the past season, using them as another excuse as to why the team faltered down the stretch. Since then, Carl Crawford has discovered that he probably will need Tommy John surgery for an injury discovered prior to spring training, not exactly an improvement on their $140 million man.
Think of that: The Sox had the worst single month in the history of baseball and the only major changes were in their medical staff and in the manager’s office.
No need to look on the field, Larry — our new physician has never made an out at Yankee Stadium!
We are halfway through the season, more than four years removed from the team’s last playoff win and the Sox are 9 1/2 games behind the Yankees. ”Sweet Caroline” still plays in the middle of the eighth, the $8.50 beers are flowing and the team’s inane sellout streak remains intact. In other words, the team remains profitable.
There are many who say the ownership lacks culpability in this situation, by stating “Hey, they are spending the money, right?” No. The money they needed to spend was in eating cash from Josh Beckett’s contract, extracting him from this team and moving forward without the ringleader of drumsticks and PBR from the equation.
Unfortunately, the ownership’s apathy this offseason has translated to the fan base. Fenway is fast becoming a landmark with a game going on in the background. There’s been far more focus on the celebration of the ballpark’s birthday than on building a team worthy of its true fans.
Larry Lucchino runs the Red Sox, and right now he has led a last place team.
Chris Curtis has produced 98.5 The Sports Hub’s The DA Show the last three years. Follow him on Twitter @DAShowProducer.