Right Field

Brief chronicles of our sporting times.

Putting Boston’s Bad Week in Perspective



Last Sunday, the Boston Red Sox lost a pretty-much-must-win game against the Yankees in New York while the Patriots lost to the Buffalo Bills because Tom Brady (Tom Brady?!?!?) threw four interceptions.

The Sox lost again on Monday but won Tuesday to head into the final day of the 2011 season tied with the Tampa Bay Rays for the final playoff spot, the AL Wildcard.

At this point, the Sox had gone 6-19 in September and had no possibility of starting Jon Lester (just pitched) or Clay Buchholz (injured) in the ALDS, anyway.

Other Boston sports news on Tuesday included a story about fan-favorite Bruin, Brad Marchand. Marchand, with many teammates, celebrated the Stanley Cup victory with a great deal of alcohol and a tattoo artist. Thus, he spent the summer with his side reading, “Stanley Cup Champians.”

The Celtics, like the rest of the NBA, are locked out as part of a truly ugly work stoppage. Ray Allen and Paul Pierce were still able to make the news by joining the players union for a high-profile meeting. Also, the lockout had led to the cancellation of preseason, so I don’t have the distraction of figuring out if this team has a viable center.

On Wednesday, the Red Sox lost to the perennially cellar-dwelling Orioles as the Rays came back from a 7-0 deficit too beat the New York Yankees. So the Rays got to play on and the Sox epic collapse — arguably the worst in baseball history — was complete.

Thursday, the City of Boston lost its collective mind.

I was shielded from the worst of it as I spent part of the day in temple, celebrating Rosh Hashanah with my family. It was the only time in my recollection when hearing a rabbi speak of new beginnings and fresh peace on the High Holidays brought me any solace.

It was also a shock to see that a mere 46 years have occurred between Dodger’s pitcher Sandy Koufax refusal to play on Yom Kippur and Red Sox GM Theo Epstein holding a press conference on Rosh Hashanah. What would Dennis Prager say?

Thursday I returned home to find, in this very blog, Rich Lowry savoring my angst — perhaps the unkindest cut of all.

Friday was a day of farce. There were multiple meetings over on Yawkey Way involving the Sox owners, GM, and manager Terry Francona. Speculation grew so intense and media attention so extreme that the Sox issued a statement mid-afternoon that they would be issuing no further statements.

Under two hours later, the Sox and Terry Francona issued multiple statements, saying basically that Francona was choosing to leave. Nobody believes this. This is when the farce stated turning to tragedy. Francona is a much-respected figure in Boston and I believe the Sox have made a rather large mistake here.

A pair of awkward press conferences followed, with virtually all participants having difficulty sticking to an increasingly unbelievable cover story.

By Saturday, there were rumors that Sox GM Theo Epstein would be resigning to take a position with the Chicago Cubs. Further rumors included Epstein reuniting with Francona at Wrigley Field to end another World Series drought.

Saturday afternoon, I sat my nine-year-old boy down for a talk. We rehashed the week: interceptions, penalties, collapses, and firings. I pointed out, “You’re lucky. It used to be like this all the time.”

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