Fenway Park and other Major League Ballparks
Cast of Characters:
Red Sox Manager played by Bobby Valentine
Red Sox General Manager played by Ben Cherington
Red Sox Ownership played by Tom Werner, John Henry and Larry Lucchino (Curly, Larry and Moe respectively)
Red Sox Roster played in the first act by well known, highly payed, All Star names. Played in the second act by new faces and aspiring stars trying to make a name for themselves.
Special Guest Star: Dustin Pedroia as himself.
Cameo by David Ortiz.
Theme: Comedy that turns tragic set in the year 2012.
Story: After an historic 2011 collapse the Red Sox front office decides to clean house. Leaving the team are home grown hero Theo Epstein and the most beloved manager in Red Sox history, Terry Francona, who led a bunch of misfits to two titles and numerous playoff appearances during his stint.
After his firing, stories 'leak' that Francona had lost control of the team due to personal issues and a dependency on pain killers. A story that is called 'bullshit' on by any and all that know Francona personally. The backlash against the ownership (who everyone knows is responsible for the story) is swift and fierce.
Also revealed is that Red Sox starting pitchers Josh Beckett, John Lackey and Jon Lester had been spending time during their off days drinking beer and eating fried chicken in the clubhouse during games. This does much to explain the poor performance and bloated appearance of each towards the end of the season.
In an effort to clear the stink from 2011, Red Sox management decide to hire the brash and opinionated Bobby Valentine to whip the club back into a disciplined, honed, baseball mashing machine....forgetting, somehow, that even the World Series teams were never labeled as such.
Hiring an alpha male manager in a club house full of over paid, pampered athletes works about as well as expected.
Before he's on the job a month, Valentine refers to one of the hardest working, most dedicated and caring players on the team as not being 'physically or emotionally into the game as he has been in the past' which leads to an understandably angry reaction from every player in the Red Sox clubhouse and 90% of the fans. Way to get off on the right foot, Bobby.
The rift never heals which Valentine blames on Youkilils never getting over his initial comments. While I'm no psychologist I'm pretty sure this frame of mind indicates an alarming and severe personality disorder. Youkilis is eventually traded to allow young phenom Will Middlebrooks more playing time, although everyone knows it's because he can't stand being near Valentine for any length of time. A sentiment shared by a majority of others, it seems, because Valentine is often sitting by himself.
Time for montage: Poor play; arguing; morale on the field and in the stands plummeting; sniping in the press back and forth; pictures leak of Valentine taking a nap; Fenway is half empty for the first time in over a decade; owners still cling to a 'sell out streak' as if that's all that matters; injuries mount (including Middlebrooks who was supposed to make fans forget Youkilis).
Climatically, management guts the team by trading Beckett, Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford and Nick Punto to the Dodgers for a carton of milk, some crackers and the psychological relief of not having to pay 220 million dollars still owed to three of them.
Let the free fall begin. After the trade nobody pays much attention to the team. Random stories pop up about players still hating Valentine, but the young players nobody has ever heard of play hard and are appreciated by the fans.
Ending: On the last day of the season Valentine is shown roaming around the players, offering encouragement and joking around before the game. The players fake smiles, look awkward and reward Valentine's last minute insincerity by losing the final game of the season 14 - 2.
Closing credits: Record 69 - 93
Players who helped win World Series no longer with the team: 2
Other All Stars Traded: 2
Number of players who put on Red Sox uniform: 54 (league record)
First Sox manager to only last one season since 1934
Number of foot in mouth moments: lost count
Largest drop in win total (non strike season) since 1946
Number of boos rained down from stands directed at one person: millions
Sell out streak over even if owners won't admit it.
Most entertaining moment: Valentine wiping out on a bike in New York while trying to read a text from Dustin Pedroia that I can only hope read 'Just heard you were toast'.
Punchline: This entire season was a celebration of Fenway Park's 100th anniversary. It's oddly appropriate if you grew up with this team - a century worth of dysfunction packed into 162 games.