There are many reasons for choosing the motif of the Titanic sinking to capture the current state of my erstwhile favorite baseball franchise.
- Fenway Park opened in April of 1912 - the same week that the doomed ocean liner met its fate at the bottom of the cold Atlantic.
- Like the 2011 edition of the Red Sox, who were labelled entering the season by the Boston Herald as "The Best Team Ever," the Titanic was touted as "unsinkable."
- The Titanic came to grief after encountering a physical object - an iceberg - that should have been anticipated; the Red Sox fell victim to a chilling series of physical injuries that better conditioning may have prevented.
- Both "ships" foundered in large part because of the hubris of owners and designers who spent recklessly and failed to include enough lifeboats to deal with potential disaster. Theo should have done a better job shoring up the leaky bullpen and decimated starting rotation.
The current state of affairs is disastrous on more levels than I have time to enumerate. Here are a few bullet points that highlight some of the self-inflicted wounds:
- The second highest payroll in MLB missed the playoffs for the second consecutive year.
- The players stopped listening to Tito Francona, so he was the first sacrificial lamb to go after the historic September collapse.
- The highly touted starting rotation let themselves get out of shape and had a collective ERA in September in the neighborhood of 6.00.
- They abandoned the dugout during crucial games as the team was desperate to hang onto a playoff berth, retreating the the club house to play video games, drink beers and scarf down fried chicken. Animal House seems exemplary by comparison.
- The General Manager, Theo Epstein, is decamping to Chicago to take over the helm of the long-suffering Cubs.
- The owners and senior officials (read John Henry, Tom Werner and Larry Lucchino) have apparently decided to continue their scorched earth policy of leaking damaging details about anyone leaving the organization. Tito Francona is merely the latest victim of their despicable smear tactics.
- The team has spent 10 years refurbishing Fenway Park and the Red Sox brand. In two weeks time, they have undone all of that hard work and turned the Sox once again into the laughing stock of major league baseball.
Shame upon them.
Go Sox - go away!