Spot on. I was listening to ESPN radio today and they had Mat Holliday on discussing the cardinals. It was like the exact opposite of what we heard and saw from the Sox. He spoke about how they knew they were a good team, maybe better than their record, but hadnt had the results they wanted. He said they got together and all agreed that playoffs or no playoffs they were going to finish strong down the stretch. They couldnt control anything else, but they could have each others backs, play hard, and win some ballgames.
But with all due respect, what would you expect him to say? I think if the Red Sox had managed to eke out of couple of extra wins in September, then hit a little hot-slash-lucky streak in the postseason, you'd be hearing rather similar quotes from Red Sox players right now.
I'd say also, baseball players may know a lot about the technical aspects of how to hit, pitch and field, but they have no special knowledge about why their teams win or lose. In fact, I'd say they are among the least reliable sources on that subject. As players, who spend massive amounts of time together for 6-8 months out of the year but only a small fraction of that time actually playing competitive games, they tend to place an inordinate amount of weight on "clubhouse chemistry," "leadership" and other aspects of their own interpersonal dynamics. Other than that, their insights are generally limited to, "we played good," or "we played bad." Player statements like, "we had each others backs and we played hard" mean basically nothing in terms of offering an empirical explanation for results on the field.
I think we have seen so much shit come out the last few weeks we are kind of jaded about it by now and most of us just want it to be over. I think, when all is said and done, is that we are going to realize that the team AND organization had a historically bad collapse and in the case of the team AND organization they were horribly, horribly dysfunctional and unprofessional.
As for the historically bad collapse, that's self-evident. I don't think anyone is jaded about that. It's pretty hard to deny or de-emphasize. And it's also clear that the team and organization was to some disturbing degree dysfunctional and unprofessional. "Horribly, horribly" so? I don't know. One man's "horribly, horribly" is another man's "meh."
The question is, how did the dysfunction/unprofessionalism affect results on the field?
I don't think anyone, on this board, in the media or anywhere, has answered that question, which is the only question that means anything for this team going forward. All I've seen are assumptions. "Their lack of discipline MUST have caused them to lose." "They tuned the manager out, therefore they collapsed." And so on.
I've seen no evidence for any such connection (doesn't mean there isn't one; only that there's been no evidence presented to support it). When we start seeing some, that's when this discussion goes from gossipy soap opera to something that actually might be productive.