In The Wake Of An Epic Collapse, Troubling Insights Into The Mind Of Adrian Gonzalez
Boston Globe columnist Peter Abraham posted an interesting article on Boston.com yesterday morning on the subject of accountability. In the wake of the ballclub’s September debacle, he neatly juxtaposed the reactions elicited from LF Carl Crawford and 1B Adrian Gonzalez. It was illuminating.
Crawford was a stand-up guy. He took responsibility for his struggles throughout the season and the part he played in the team’s monumental collapse. He’s been assigned a large share of the blame for everything that ailed the team this year – too much of the blame, in my opinion – but he has proven throughout his first year in Boston that he is no stranger to accountability.
And then there is Adrian Gonzalez.
Like Crawford, A-Gon just completed his first season in The Hub. Unlike Crawford, he had an outstanding season on the field. Red Sox Nation has widely perceived him to have been one of the strengths of the team in 2011, but the comments he made on Tuesday and again on Wednesday night – in the wake of the club’s regular season finale – have me re-evaluating my whole perception of him. In truth, those comments have me wondering whether it was a good idea to acquire him in the first place. I am no longer certain he is a good fit in Boston, and I now think Theo needs to consider trading him during the winter.
An over-reaction? Maybe… but based on his commentary I’m not so sure Gonzalez wasn’t a BIG part of the problem that engulfed the good ship, SS Red Sox, over the last 30 days.
In the postmortems of the epic collapse we witnessed, there has been a lot written about the lack of chemistry on the 2011 team… about the absence of comradery among the players. You get the sense the club was a collection of talented players, but never was a “team”… that it was a club that resembled the NY Yankees teams we reviled back in the ’80s & ’90s: a collection of talented, high-priced players who were incapable of winning. 25 men, 25 cabs.
We have become what we once loathed… and Gonzalez may be the poster boy for this edition of the Red Sox.
We know that he is dispassionate… in that way he mimics his manager: never too high, never too low. And his demeanor leads you to wonder if he cares about winning. Does he have a fire in his belly? Can he be a leader in the clubhouse? Not only is he perceived as dispassionate, but he is reportedly also aloof in the clubhouse and a teammate who has not warmed to the task of being a leader.
Gonzalez’ remarks this week did NOTHING to alleviate those concerns…
Gonzalez: “(Missing the playoffs) is definitely something we didn’t plan for. We were wholly confident that we would make the playoffs but it didn’t happen. We didn’t do a better job with the lead. I am a firm believer that God has a plan and that it wasn’t in his plan for us to move forward.”
Those comments came one day after he blamed the MLB schedule-makers for the team’s struggles: “We play too many night games on getaway days and get into places at 4 in the morning. This has been my toughest season physically because of that. We play a lot of night games on Sunday for television and those things take a lot out of you… Why does it have to be? … The schedule really hurt us, but nobody is really reporting that.”
Huh? Yo, Adrian, wake up and smell the coffee.
So, the club’s epic collapse was a combination of bad scheduling and God’s plan? Hmmm, thank goodness! I thought it had something to do with Jon Lester’s lack of intestinal fortitude, and/or Josh Beckett’s inability to rise to the occasion, and/or John Lackey’s abject incompetence, and/or Dan Bard’s choking like he swallowed a whole chicken, and/or poor conditioning and injuries… etc, etc.
It is a relief to know the implosion had nothing to do with the players who took the field day in and day out. It is good to know that it was just a matter of some poor decisions by MLB schedulers and the fact God had nothing better to do than set out a post-season plan that excluded the Boston Red Sox.
I don’t mean to be disrespectful or to demean anyone’s religious views. Religion is a central influence in the lives of a vast majority of people all over the world. But A-Gon’s assessment of the ballclub’s performance in September is disconcerting. He failed to incorporate accountability into his evaluation. To the contrary, he rejected accountability and instead pointed a finger at a schedule-maker and at God.
His mindset is troubling and may be illustrative of WHY the team fell apart down the stretch. If the player’s collective failure is part of God’s plan, there is nothing they can do about it… they can just sit back and let it happen because “it is God’s plan.” God is responsible. Players are therefore not responsible. They are absolved of accountability because they are just pawns in God’s master plan.
So, it would seem that amid war and famine and hate and a worldwide economic crisis, God had nothing better to do than to get involved in the pennant race… he decided that he wanted the Tampa Bay Rays to beat out the Red Sox for the AL Wild Card.
Apparently, God is fickle. It appears he isn’t a Boston fan because he abandoned the Red Sox, but he isn’t a Tampa fan either because he turned his back on the Lightning in Game 7 and let the Bruins win en route to a Stanley Cup championship. Anyone know whether he likes the Patriots chances for a Super Bowl title?
If so he had better do something about the pass defense!
I am sorry, but I don’t want one of my team leaders to think this way… it absolves players of their individual and collective responsibilities.
Hmmm, maybe Theo can get Jered Weaver for A-Gon and then sign Albert Pujols. Of course, before the Sox GM does that he had better have a tet-a-tet with Pujols and solicit his views on accountability and how it relates to baseball schedules and religion!!