In the 90’s, during glory days of the WCW/WWE– those famous words were mentioned by none other than Bill Goldberg. In 2011, after the colossal implosion of the Boston Red Sox it’s more like what’s next and who’s next to fall in the deck of cards and scapegoats for this season’s failure. Granted, it’s been a trying time for Major League Baseball – the PED era which covers (possibly longer) a 15yr period, and messy ownership situations with the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Mets. Is it really fair for Terry “Tito” Francona to play the role (and one he should be considered for an Academy Award nomination) of scapegoat for this collapse. Tito doesn’t hit, field, pitch or blow saves and sure didn’t make the mistakes like his predecessor “Grady Little” did several years ago.
So, what really happened? During the month of September, the Red Sox experience a melt down and go 7-20 and not only blow the AL East, but the wild card to the Rays on the last night of the regular season. I guess “Murphy’s Law” was enacted and ownership needed to the pass on the blame and failure to someone. (IE: definition of scapegoat) As the dominoes continue to fall, ownership should perform a deep dive on Theo Epstein (Exec. VP/GM). Theo drove the truck over Tito for this debacle and should be equally rewarded for signing Carl Crawford and John Lackey to NY Yankee type contracts – which ended up this year looking like total busts. Theo and his staff are charged to architect a winning solution with their 163MIL payroll. (Through trades / free agent signings / farm system) Where’s Sabermetrics when you really need it?
A lot will be said about Tito losing the clubhouse. He was provided an overachieving and overpaid product and still couldn’t win with it. These big league market teams are about winning “NOW” and anything less than a World Series appearance is total failure. In the end, Tito managed to win two WS rings in a decade of PED’s. Were the reports of some Red Sox players drinking beer in the clubhouse during games factual or rhetoric created by the mothership and the 24HR news cycle? Ultimately, we’re in an age where the super-brats (ALL WORLD athletes) are running the asylum.
Who could save the Red Sox in 2012? Short Term – Bobby Valentine to get them over the hump and Long Term – Curt Schilling (initially as an understudy/bench coach – similar to when Joe Girardi was waiting in the wings for Torre), because he knows Boston and baseball. I also think dusting off Joe Torre (MLB – VP of Operations) for a short term assignment would generate enough buzz and rejuvenate the Sox-Yanks rivalry beyond the next level. This is another story story / article for another time.
Takeaways – Don’t be surprised to see Theo leave for the Cubs. Tito will get the opportunity to take a breather and become an analyst for a short term assignment. David “Big Papi” Ortiz won’t receive the lucrative two or three year deal he covets. Crawford and Lackey will have bounce back seasons and all will be well with the Red Sox Nation. We’re reminded that everyone and everything has a shelf life.
Wouldn’t it be nice if Manny Ramirez was still a part of the Red Sox organization so that he could take all the blame?