Things are crumbling in Red Sox Nation. The fans aren’t happy with the players, the players aren’t happy with management, and the manager isn’t really happy with anything or anyone. It’s the Summer of Discontent.
But none of this is terribly surprising. After the circumstances that saw Terry Francona and Theo Epstein take their leave, followed by Beer and Fried Chicken Gate, no one was expecting a smooth season. And things never got better after Bobby Valentine’s hiring, as his media and player management skills quickly found him at odds with clubhouse leaders, as well as Boston area fans. Today’s report from Jeff Passan reveals just how bad things have become.
As someone who will glance at the USA Today whenever I’m in a hotel, I feel like I’m an expert in the field of messy geo-political situations. Hence, here is the Red Sox crisis timeline:
July 22: Adrian Gonzalez, on behalf of the team, sends a text message to ownership complaining about Bobby Valentine after Valentine lets Jon Lester get soaked to the tune of 11 runs.
Later on July 22: Players laugh at the hilarious autocorrect on Adrian Gonzalez’s phone. They resend the message with the correct spelling.
July 26: Players meet with ownership to discuss issues. There is no lunch, but the refreshments provided are from a great little bakery in the North End. The players are unsatisfied with the meeting, but quite satisfied with the snacks.
July 28: Terry Francona comes to Red Sox clubhouse, holds 45 minute gabfest with players.
July 29: Terry Francona sends apology text message to Bobby Valentine.
Later on July 29: Terry Francona laughs at hilarious autocorrect. Bobby Valentine offers a statement, but he does not find autocorrect funny.
July 31: Trade deadline comes and goes. The Red Sox lose Scott Podsednik, only to get him back a few days later. When he left, he was a staunch Valentinian. Now, he will sow the seeds of treason.
August 12: After being tipped off to the release of Jeff Passan’s piece, Bobby Valentine hires a two person security detail.
August 14: The Jeff Passan article is released. Bobby Valentine takes to traveling Boston looking like this:
August 16: Dustin Pedroia begins assembling team members interested in ‘reform.’ They meet in secret, in that cash room that was used in “The Town.” Scott Podsednik writes down names of everyone not in attendance. He will later threaten to break these players legs.
August 17: Word of this secret meeting gets out. Ownership tells media they are only rumors. Bobby Valentine begins assembling group of players who are loyal to him.
August 19: Coaches, many of whom are still fiercely loyal to Terry Francona, join with Pedroia’s group. Though older, many of them have seen military time, and wish to escalate the violence. David Ortiz pleads for cooler heads, but Scott Podsednik rallies the mob.
August 21: After a three game losing streak, tensions are high. Dustin Pedroia calls Terry Francona, asking if he would he be interested in coming back should the players succeed. Francona, his eyes moist, looks into the middle distance and says he’s “seen too many boys die young. You’re on your own.”
(Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
August 25: A clubhouse brawl breaks out between the “Pedriots” as they’re called and the Tories. Carl Crawford loses his arm in battle and is sent to the Mayo Clinic for experimental surgery. Things quiet down, for a time, though Bobby Valentine’s support group continues to dwindle. He bars the media from entering clubhouse before and after games.
September 2: An anonymous tweet is released from Peter Gammons. Says only: “Help7.” People are not sure if this is a pocket dial or what.
September 7: With the Red Sox mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, fans storm the field. During the chaos, Adrian Gonzalez sneaks into Valentine’s office and comes upon Valentine’s plans to replace Jerry Remy’s restaurant with one of his own. He releases these to the media.
September 9: The release of this information turns the tides of the battle as the people of Boston firmly turn against Bobby Valentine. Bobby Valentine enacts an embargo on all postgame spreads. Starvation and scurvy sweep through the clubhouse.
September 10: Ownership denies that anything is going on.
September 13: Dustin Pedroia leaves the game to find his car overturned and set on fire. A note, written in blood, reads “What now, Laser Show?”
September 15: Needing to strike back for the slight, the Pedriots pour 7 cases of Bud Light down the sink. Spirits in the Bobby Valentine camp are low.
September 20: After arriving home from Tampa Bay, a brawl erupts at baggage claim. Three players are injured and another two are faking. Ownership again denies anything is going on. Bobby Valentine has now hired more security and sleeps in his office. Only Alfredo Aceves, who enjoys the special treatment, and Aaron Cook, who despises the upstarts, remain loyal.
September 24: Pressures come to a head and, like in Gangs of New York, all factions battle behind Fenway Park. Rumors of what will one day be called the “Yawkey Way Fight” spread through Boston, and fans arrive in droves to watch. John Lackey, having not played all season, captures Bobby Valentine, but in the melee Dustin Pedroia is also taken hostage and kept in Valentine’s office.
September 28: The two sides meet to parlay. They return the hostages.
September 29: Bobby Valentine makes an appearance at a Boston area sporting goods store. He tries to appeal to the townfolk, but has to leave due to safety concerns midway through. Dustin Pedroia, a black bandage on his arm for his fallen brethren, arrives and the crowd cheers.
September 30: The players arrive to find the manager’s office ransacked. It is believed that Bobby Valentine arrived late the night before, cleared out his things, and is now on a private charter to England.
October 3: The season ends. Bobby Valentine is fired under the condition that every player will pretend that the last two months never happened. Players shake hands and go home. It is never spoken of again.