By: Doug Casey
A year can change a lot.
The 2011 Boston Red Sox came into Spring Training with a lot of hope. After missing the playoffs in 2010, they traded for All-Star first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, as well as signing All-Star left fielder Carl Crawford. Hoping to improve on an 89-73 record in 2010, they missed the playoffs by one game, and only finished with a record of 90-72.
Winter hit hard, with both manager Terry Francona and general manager Theo Epstein leaving, as well as the whole scandal involving Red Sox pitchers eating fried chicken and drinking beer in the clubhouse while games were being played.
Bobby Valentine was hired as the team’s new manager in early December, and since then has acted in a much different manner than Francona did during his tenure. Valentine hasn’t shied away from the public light, and has made several comments aimed at players, namely Kevin Youkilis, in hope of generating better overall play.
However, that hasn’t really worked so far. As of May 22, the Red Sox’s record stands at 21-21, and they’re in last place in the American League East. The pitching staff has given up the second most runs in the American League, and optimism from the fans seems to be dwindling. Concern over whether or not the Red Sox’s front office is completely invested in winning has been debated, and controversy over who can step up as a leader on the team has risen.
With an increase in lesser known role players on the roster, many Red Sox fans are wishing for the seasons of 2004 and 2007, when the Red Sox won the World Series. Although this year’s team does have some talent, it looks likely that the Red Sox will be on the outside looking in when the MLB playoffs start in October.