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It just never seems to end.
One day a player mutiny, the next a Bobby Valentine gaffe, the next insidious visits from Terry Francona, divisiveness from mangers. Leaks, traitors, snitches. Golf games for the injured, charity fundraisers for the sick, and mixed in with it all loss after loss after loss after loss.
There has been no end to the controversies and mountain-out-of-molehill scandals surrounding this team since the 2011 season came to a dramatic, depressing ending. Today it's seems to have reached a peak--or, depending on how you look at it, a valley--as certain members of the media pounced on the team for their failure to attend a funeral and turned Larry Lucchino saying that they had no idea who the "leak" was into Bob McClure, suspect number one. Even the WEEI headline is about as inflammatory as possible given the actual information contained therein.
That, for the record, is all the mention the funeral "story" will receive on the front page from me.
It's gotten beyond the point of ridiculous now, to the point where it's not even a Boston phenomena. Slow day on a national site? Pick a Red Sox storyline and go to work. It's become a war, or rather a massacre, since the most the Sox seem willing to do is to deny.
How much damage has been done? Who's to say. It's a tough argument to make that this is a good team being dragged down by the maelstrom that surrounds it, but it's hard to imagine that it helps any. And when trying to extend our own players or bring people into Boston, this sort of toxic environment can't help any.
The question is, how do the Sox break free from this? Are they stuck in a catch-22 where winning will get rid of the media's attacks but the media's attacks don't allow winning? Would getting rid of the "troubled" players even do anything at this point, or is it so bad by now that they'll simply move on to the next bunch, no matter how innocent they may be?
I have no answer to that, but for my money I'd like to see a little fight back from the team. They're being so consistently buried that at this point one has to wonder what the point is of talking to the media at all. Is it time to call for an embargo? This wouldn't be a strongarm "if you're not with us, you're against us" tactic. It would be a matter of removing parasites. This has gone so far beyond symbiosis at this point that it's not even funny.
So just don't talk to the media. Don't. If anyone has seen the movie Cobb, it chronicles the ghostwriting of Ty Cobb's autobiography. While the writer manages to get all the bits he needs for a character piece by following him around for weeks, Cobb just wants to talk baseball.
Let's have the Red Sox do that. Anytime anyone even tries to bring up another story, just talk about wins and losses. About the next starter, the next series, anything that is strictly baseball-related. Because that's what it's really about. When the team is winning, they're almost untouchable. When they're losing, they're meat for a pack of animals. If that doesn't work, shut the media out as much as possible. Go as bare-bones as possible in personnel to avoid giving them sources to work with.
For some, this won't mean much change. There's a fair number of Boston journalists who are excellent sports writers who only go into the drama when it's actually something fairly important. Too many, however, are glorified TMZ reporters who seem to have forgotten about balls and strikes.
This is not a defense of the team. It's not a great group of ballplayers right now, and they've probably got a fair few problems themselves that help those TMZ reporters do what they love so much to do. But as miserable as going 59-65 is, it's been made all the much worse by the media going completely insane and going through every single action or inaction of every player with a fine-tooth comb to find their next story.
It's gotten to the point where it's impossible to even tell what is and is not a problem because everything is blown out of proportion. They could have made a demon out of Tim Wakefield if he were still around.
Just shut it down. Fight back. Don't let it continue. They've taken a bad situation and made it worse, and perhaps worst of all made it even harder to recover from than it already would have been. The Red Sox, as a team, are getting nothing but grief out of their cooperation with the media, so why keep providing it?