Once upon a time they were THE model franchise in baseball. Today the Boston Red Sox are a radioactive franchise. No player wants to come here. No manager is pumping emails to replace Terry Francona.
What happened to the Boston Red Sox? In a few words - discipline, accountability and responsibility. Not many championship teams make it to the top without those three factors. I have it on good authority that Theo Epstein went to Sox ownership with six weeks left in the season and told the Sox brass that Francona wouldn't work out. Two weeks later, in a closed door meeting, Sox ownership voted not to have Francona back - and this was before the epic collapse.
What upset management was that there was no sense of urgency as their nine-game lead was evaporating. There was a sense of complacency in the clubhouse - we now know why. While the lower echelon teams like the Blue Jays and Orioles were embarrassing the Sox on the field, John Lester, Josh Beckett and John Lackey were upstairs watching the game on TV while drinking beer and ordering takeout fried chicken from Popeyes.
How does the manager claim to not know these three were not in the dugout with the rest of the squad while the Sox were fighting for their playoff lives? Bill Parcells once said that "fear is a great motivator." No member of the Sox ever feared being disciplined by Francona. They did what they wanted, when they wanted, how they wanted. None of them ever looked into a mirror where you can get instant answers to accountability and responsibility. How do you feel as a Red Sox fan when you dish out about \$400 for a night at Fenway - you gnash your teeth, put on your rally cap and bite your fingernails 'til the final out. You care more about the final score than the boys in the clubhouse. Makes you sick doesn't it.
Take in a Little League game next summer. You'll save \$400 and watch a benchful of youngsters empty their physical and emotional tanks until the final out. In their league eating chicken always comes after the game.