In case you're keeping score at home, a non-comprehensive list of reasons why the Red Sox are six games under 500: The Red Sox used to drink too much in the clubhouse. The Red Sox aren't allowed to loosen up in the clubhouse. The Red Sox got too fat. Ownership is too concerned with Liverpool. Josh Beckett spent an off-day golfing. Clay Buchholz spent one night of a DL stint at a charity event. John Lackey somehow found beer. The media was mean to the players. Bobby Valentine lost the clubhouse. Bobby Valentine lost the clubhouse again. Bobby Valentine continued to lose the clubhouse.
So, naturally, Johnny Pesky couldn't even die without becoming an indictment of the team and the locker room culture, whatever the fuck that means. Pesky's Monday morning funeral was attended by over 100 employees but just four current players, and this is now a capital-T Thing, and can be used for all sorts of sweeping pronouncements about this team and their moral character (and nothing at all about the team having landed at 4 a.m., and most of them having only met Pesky a couple times in passing).
But this really isn't about Johnny, whose departure was treated as a loss of royalty, which is what he was to this city, as beloved as anyone who ever represented Boston in the eyes of the outside world.
No, this is about the players; individually, they might have had splendid reasons to be among the missing at St. John the Evangelist Church in Swampscott, but collectively, they're not looking so good this morning.
How ironic they'd blow this one.
After Tuesday's magnificent pre-game tribute, including the thrilling playing of taps, and the lump-in-the-throat spectacle of 40 players wearing No. 6, busloads of this town's big-leaguers showing up for a last goodbye was a fastball down the pike, ripe for blasting, a can't-miss moment.
All they had to do was show up.
What a shame they didn't, not for Johnny, but for them.
That's the Herald's Joe Fitzgerald, who honed his outrage chops at the sports desk before moving over to the metro section. (Interestingly, the story was originally reported without judgment by the Herald's "Inside Track" reporters. The Inside Track is "filled with celebrity sightings, nightclub news and just plain old gossip," so their restraint says more about those other gossip pages, the ones at the back of the paper.)
We all know that things like skipping a franchise legend's funeral only happen to unhappy, hopeless teams, except for the 2010 Yankees who blew off Bob Sheppard's memorial and went on to win 95 games and come within two wins of the World Series. But what did these Red Sox do with their Monday off, if not attend Pesky's funeral? "Nearly the entire team" turned out for a charity bowling tournament to raise money for ill and underprivileged children.
New narrative: Red Sox too consumed with charity work to focus on baseball.