Beginning of the season, the 2011 Boston Red Sox was being crowned as possibly the best team ever assembled, with projections of 100+ victories. Things did not pan out that way.
Fans were starting to blame the start if they missed the playoffs by 1 or 2 games (which did happen) after winning only 9 games in April. They had a good summer, but the end turned into the biggest collapse in history. They were up 9 games in the wildcard in the final month, only to loose it on the final day with only 7 wins in the month. The collapse has accelerated the speculation to a fever pitch on the status of Boston Red Sox manager, Terry Francona.
Based on official reports Francona quit as manager of the Boston Red Sox, although the real story is up for debate.
After the poor performance that cost the team to miss the playoffs, it was right, not only for Francona, but also for the Red Sox club for him to leave.
For the record, I like Francona. He will be viewed as the greatest Red Sox manager ever. He had 8 great years there. He won 2 World Series, including the first once since 1912. I have nothing against him as a person or a manager. There is just a time and place for everything. It was time for him to leave.
Francona looked more worn then normal for this time of the year. Managing in Boston for a year is like 2-3 years most other places. I am giving him the benefit of the doubt he was burned out at the later part of the season.
What the Red Sox did this season is get some of the best players in the game, and paid them outrageous contracts. They are one of a small number of teams who have such luxury. 17 players earned at least a million dollars last year. Six players are earning at least 12 million, 3 of them are pitchers. As a result, there was a feeling of entitlement in the clubhouse. Players were complaining about the “grueling schedule., and about the buses. There was also drinking by some of the pitchers on there off day (how about watching the game, examining the players so you will have an idea of what to do when you take the mound?) in the clubhouse.
Ultimately, it is the job of the manager to get continuity in the clubhouse, and get the players focused. There was next to zero discipline, a lack of focus. What happens on the diamond is a team effort, not individual. They are there to win the game. That did not happen. Frnacona is at fault, and Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein also takes part of the blame. He signed the players and has to work with the manager day-to-day on making the team successful.
Regardless of salary, players should be selfish, but it is ultimately the manager’s responsibility to set the player straight, and have them focused at the task at hand. That is to win games. With that talent, there is no excuse for them to miss the playoffs. Sorry Terry, time for someone new.