There's no denying that the Red Sox have been awful this season. Everyone (outside of Boston) is reveling in it. Inside the Hub, however, media and fans alike are enduring what happens when the team that opened the season with baseball's third-highest payroll has Scott Podsednik batting third or Pedro Ciriaco in left field.
There has been so much about the 2012 Red Sox that is so bad. (Including Bobby Valentine's desire earlier today to punch a talk-radio host in the throat.) But when did the Red Sox truly reach rock bottom—their absolute nadir, the one point from where things could deteriorate no further?
According to the Boston media, the Red Sox have reached their definite low point eight times so far in 2012. And we still have a month left!
April 17: 11 games into the season, the Red Sox are battered by the Rangers, 18-3. Comcast SportsNet uses the phrase first, posting the headline "For the Red Sox, this has to be rock bottom" for their recap.
April 22: The rest of the media soon follows CSN's lead. The Red Sox blow a 9-0 lead to the Yankees by giving up 15 runs in the seventh and eighth innings, ending the day with a 4-10 record. After the game, Bobby Valentine told the media, "I think we've hit bottom. That's what I told them after the game. You have to sometimes hit bottom. If this isn't bottom, then we'll find some new ends to the earth I guess."
If "rock bottom" was a band, this was their wildly successful debut single.
Dan Shaughnessy goes on Gresh & Zo on 98.5 The Sports Hub to answer the question, "Rock Bottom For Red Sox?" Art Davidson of the MetroWest Daily News writes a game recap with the succinct "Rock bottom." WEEI doesn't even ask. They yell in all caps on the headline for an audio clip. "THE RED SOX HAVE HIT 'ROCK BOTTOM.'"
Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald, however, is cautious with his story for that game. The Herald's subhead: "Situation nears rock bottom."
There are still 148 games to go, so Bobby Valentine's hope that yesterday represented "rock bottom" has to be taken with a grain of salt that comes with every quote uttered after a stinging defeat.
One thing is for sure, though.
The Red Sox are in hell.
Definitely in hell, but maybe not yet at rock bottom. OK.
May 11: ESPN gets into the "rock bottom" discussion with a poll that asks, simply, "Have the Red Sox hit rock bottom?" 58 percent of respondents say yes. How naive they were.
From the Herald again, Steve Buckley flexes his movie-referencing abilities after the Red Sox lose 8-3 to the Cleveland Indians and Josh Beckett lasts 2.1 innings while giving up seven runs:
Remember a couple of weeks ago, when the Red Sox bullpen gave up back-to-back 7-spots against the Yankees and turned a 9-1 lead into a 15-9 loss?
Remember how, after that game was in the books, Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine proclaimed his team had hit rock bottom?
Turns out the Red Sox have procured one of those drills that Bruce Willis and Ben Affleck had in their possession when they made holes in the asteroid in Armageddon, and they are using it to blast through the rock at the bottom of the AL East standings as they plummet toward the worst record in baseball.
Just like this season's Red Sox, Buckley is not very good at comebacks.
July 7: June was a good month for the Red Sox. They were winning! The Herald even said they were "far from rock-bottom now"! They had a winning record (41-37) going into July! Maybe they're going to make a run for the top of the division!
Steve Buckley didn't think so. Here's his pitch after the Red Sox give up four runs in the seventh to the Yankees and lose 10-8:
Look at the Red Sox' 10-8 loss to the Yankees last night at Fenway Park as a horror-movie sequel—Return to Rock Bottom.
True, sequels are rarely as good as the original. And so it is here. We all remember the original, 'I Think We've Hit Rock Bottom,' which opened in theaters nationwide back in April. The Red Sox had themselves a nice, fat 9-0 lead over the Yankees in that April 21 showdown, only to watch—um, in horror— as the Bombers put up back-to-back seven-spots en route to a 15-9 victory.
That's when Sox manager Bobby Valentine spoke those memorable words: "I think we've hit rock bottom."
And now . . . Return to Rock Bottom.
I personally like How Rock Bottom Got Its Soul-Crushing Groove Back.
August 5: Hope is pretty much lost. The Red Sox start off the month by losing three games to the Minnesota Twins, and Scott Lauber of the Herald—where columnists are evidently paid per "rock bottom"—says there is more to come:
It hardly seems possible given everything that has happened over the past four months, but the Red Sox [team stats] have reached a new low.
And there's no reason to think it's rock bottom.
August 14: After Jeff Passan writes about the Red Sox's secret bitchfest about Bobby, Mike Dyer of MyFoxBoston writes about what "rock bottom" really means:
Rock bottom is an interesting term, used usually to describe the final incident in a long line of incidents that have led a person, or group of people to their proverbial lowest point. It's difficult to predict, I mean how do you really know that things can't get worse, that one particular moment is the final punch to the gut?
Rock bottom is to be reserved for those moments that have staying power, the moments that when the bad times are over, you can look back and say "Wow, things used to be that bad?" For the 2012 Boston Red Sox, rock bottom happened on Tuesday.
September 1: Bobby V and company are still jackhammering toward rock bottom. Brian MacPherson's recap of a 7-1 loss to the Athletics (which dropped Boston 10 games under .500) includes a cute GIF of Alfredo Aceves dropping a foul pop-up after bumping into Jarrod Saltalamacchia.
To think that a loss to the New York Yankees in April represented rock bottom for the Red Sox, even one as catastrophic as that one was, looks laughable in retrospect.
Every time it appears Boston has hit rock bottom, the Red Sox just keep right on digging.
September 3: We get the final verdict from the patron saint of Boston sports fanhood. Have the Red Sox hit rock bottom, or is everyone just overreacting? What say you, Sports Fella?
The Red Sox just called up a Triple-A prospect named Rock Bottom.