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The season's done, Bobby Valentine's gone, and an offseason of uncertainty beckons...
Hegel remarks somewhere that all great world-historic facts and personages appear, so to speak, twice. He forgot to add: the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce. -Karl Marx
Now, of course, Marx was talking about Louis Napoleon, who would eventually become the emperor Napoleon III. He, like his famed namesake, started a grand war with the German principalities. Unlike his famed namesake, he wound up getting his own ass handed to him on a platter in six weeks. But as it turns out, Marx may as well have been speaking about the 2011-12 Red Sox. Last year, a team that looked as good as any the franchise has had imploded in September. This year, a team that should have contended stumbled into mediocrity, then faded into complete forgettable horribleness. Now we stand around without a manager or a well-established plan for next year, and who's to say what lies ahead?
Anyway, this season from hell has at last been consigned to the past. The 2012 Red Sox will fall into the history books and Baseball-Reference pages at 69-93, the worst they've been in forever. Bobby Valentine's tenure with the team will be a one-year blip in the records. Someday, our children and our children's children will hear that Scott Podsednik led off, and think that their grandsires are exaggerating. And sure, we'll make it sound worse than it was. But that doesn't change the one overarching truth of the 2012 Boston Red Sox: there were numerous occasions when they were desperate enough to hit Scott Podsednik leadoff.
Was all of this desperate flailing failure due to the man in the manager's chair? No. Of course not. No failure this spectacular can be attributed to any one man, unless that one man is post-1980 George Lucas. And yet it's hard to argue with the firing of Bobby Valentine. Matt Kory argued powerfully that firing is really all that need happen here. The Boston front office agreed, ending Valentine's tenure with the Red Sox swiftly, professionally, and without any of the traditional smearing, backstabbing, and generalized character assassination that tends to follow anyone's departure from the Sox payroll. It was, I'll admit, a little disturbing.
Strange as it seems, other teams are still playing. Are they worth paying attention to? Well, I went over the AL teams, and the NL teams... And no, none of them are worth it. Best to continue dwelling on the death of our boys. After all, they've got a top-ten draft pick!
Focusing on players we've already got under contractual control, or at least do until the playoffs are done... For some reason, Marc and Matt Collins both decided to write about Daisuke Matsuzaka. Marc took the decidedly long view, while Matt went the more end-of-career route. And both of them spent more time, effort, and sweat on their columns than Matsuzaka did on his entire six-year career in Boston.
Dustin Pedroia may well be the grittiest, scrappiest, most tough-it-out-inest guy the Red Sox have ever employed. Is that a good thing? Well, morally, probably. In baseball terms, it could perhaps be better. Felix Doubront showed us some damn fine stuff this year. Is it sustainable? Matt Sullivan went over that very question. With Doubront's uncertain future in mind, Ben went over the future of the Sox rotation.
The season's done, folks. We can finally put this all behind us and start looking toward next year. Sure, the Orioles are still alive, which defies all the laws of physics and baseball. But what the hell, with Boston out of it, let's root for some chaos. May all the series go to the final game, and let every game be decided on a fluke hit in extras. Bitter? You bet your ass. I've got no rooting interest here, all I want is exciting randomness. Happy Division Series, all.