x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

MLB: Crumpled Red Sox are left in a heap

Boston jettisons several high-priced players as, it appears the club has entered wait-until-next-season mode for the rest of the season, writes Carroll Rogers

Bobby Valentine, left,  has a discussion with Adrian Gonzalez, one of the players cited in reports as among a group that asked for Valentine's ouster from the manager's job. Instead it is Gonzalez and a group of others heading west to the Los Angeles Dodgers as the Red Sox dump salary to make way for the future.
Bobby Valentine, left, has a discussion with Adrian Gonzalez, one of the players cited in reports as among a group that asked for Valentine's ouster from the manager's job. Instead it is Gonzalez and a group of others heading west to the Los Angeles Dodgers as the Red Sox dump salary to make way for the future.

So much for celebrating 100 seasons at Fenway Park.

The Boston Red Sox's 2012 season has had little to do with honouring their historical ballpark and more about melodrama, discontent and all but assuredly another failure to reach the play-offs.

The Red Sox tied a major league record when they blew a nine-game lead in the American League wild card last September.

Shortly thereafter, reports surfaced depicting a team with an apathetic attitude.

Several starting pitchers acknowledged eating fried chicken and playing video games in the clubhouse during games rather than supporting their teammates in the dugout.

The Red Sox tried to clear the air by parting ways with general manager Theo Epstein and manager Terry Francona, but new manager Bobby Valentine has stirred more controversy than those two ever did. The latest example came earlier this month when reports revealed a text message was sent from first baseman Adrian Gonzalez's cell phone on behalf of players to team ownership criticising Valentine leaving pitcher Jon Lester in a game in which he had allowed 11 runs.

A subsequent closed-door meeting between players and ownership failed in its bid to clear the air. Details of the meeting wound up in published reports and the national headlines kept coming.

The Red Sox fired pitching coach Bob McClure. The team was criticised after only four players attended the funeral of Johnny Pesky, an iconic Red Sox figure who spent 61 years in the organisation as a player, coach, manager and broadcaster.

Friday, with the Red Sox having lost 11 of their previous 16 games, rumours surfaced that they were working on a trade to send four star players and US$262 million (Dh962.3m) worth of salary in Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford and Nick Punto to the Los Angeles Dodgers for James Loney and four prospects.

“That’s one of the reasons why I almost never talk to the press here,” Gonzalez told ESPNdeportesLos Angeles.com. “Very few times they ask me about baseball ... most of the time it’s about gossip, rumours, plots … a soap opera.”

Except the rumours later proved true and Gonzalez and the others were soon on their way west to Los Angeles, leaving the mess they had a large part in back in Boston to Valentine and the others to clean up.

And at 60-66 going into Friday’s action in North America, with the possibility of having their first losing season since 1997, that heap may take a lot of shoveling.

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