The Boston Red Sox may be on the verge of one of the worst regular season collapses in baseball history. Winning just six of 24 games this month, they have seen their nine-game lead in the Wild Card race cut to just one game over the Tampa Bay Rays.
With only a few games left, Red Sox Nation hopes that all players are on the same page and focused on winning. This does not appear to be the case. Two stories this past week show how personal issues and disputes with the media are distracting from the play on the field.
Just before John Lackey was set to take the mound for Boston against the New York Yankees on Sunday, he learned of a recent story by TMZ.com. TMZ reported on his recent filing for divorce from his wife Krista, who is battling breast cancer. Lackey gave up four runs — three earned — and five hits over six innings. Lackey, who did not factor in the decision, was visibly upset when manager Terry Francona pulled him from the game after allowing a single to the first batter in the seventh inning. During his post game press conference, Lackey blamed reporters, who are unaffiliated with TMZ, at Yankee Stadium. WEEI reported on the press conference and provided audio.
Earlier in the week Gordon Edes reported on Red Sox left fielder Carl Crawford’s unwillingness to talk to the media. Crawford was quoted as saying “Go ask the captain”. Some people believed Crawford was expressing anger at the team Captain Jason Varitek. I wish the team Captain did attempt to get Crawford to perform on the field they way he should, but that does not appear to be what happened. The Red Sox, Crawford and Varitek all denied any notion of that. They further explained that his statement was a response to one reporter’s question. Edes went on to detail the exchange in a blog post titled “Ask the captain revisited”. Edes also stated that the line was directed at one reporter. I believe them all. I was not there and have not spoken to anyone involved in the incident, but by reading all accounts I believe Crawford was attempting to insult a reporter by referencing her rumored past romantic relationship Varitek.
I hope misplaced anger over poor performance isn’t the common attitude in the Red Sox clubhouse. They have enough to worry about with only three games left to play. This team needs to stop blaming others and start winning games before this season ends in a great disappointment for all involved.
Francona has always been a players’ manager since he has been with Boston. The time might come for him to take a page from the New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick and crack down on this team
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