Anyone who followed the Red Sox last season, knows that there were some highs and lows which turned the season into a long, stressful, “what is wrong with this team” kind of roller coaster ride. Now, the new year is upon us and this seems like a good time to take a look back at 2012 and some of the biggest stories surrounding the Boston Red Sox.
Bobby V’s hiring was just the beginning
Bobby V In: Ok, I know this first story happened in 2011 but it is where the 2012 season really begins for the Boston Red Sox. This was the manager that was supposed to come into Boston and fix the sinking ship at Fenway Park and during spring training, it looked as is the problems were going to be solved. Bobby got rid of beer in the clubhouse and then made the decision to actually make the players work during spring training. Guys like Dustin Pedroia didn’t like it, but as a fan it gave you hope that he was going to turn everything around.
The “Bobby V Experiment” turned out to be a bust
Bobby V Out: After a poor season filled with a disgruntled clubhouse, an injury bug who refused to leave Boston and disagreements with his staff, Bobby Valentine was fired in early October. The man who was brought to Boston to change the way things were done and to replace one of the best managers Boston has ever seen failed miserably. He called out players, he called out coaches and after he lost all their respect, he lost the fan’s respect as well. With the firing, a sigh of relief swept through Red Sox Nation and the search began for a new manager.
John Farrell hopes to usher in a new era for the Sox
Welcome Back John: As we learned when Theo Epstein left Boston, almost anybody working with a baseball team can be traded. Just weeks after Bobby V was canned, the front office brass worked out a deal that would send Mike Aviles to Toronto and bring John Farrell to Boston to become the 46th manager in Red Sox history. Farrell has reason to give Sox fans hope because of his relationship with some of the players on the team. As you may or may not know, Farrell was the pitching coach in Boston from 2007-10 and in that time had one of the best pitching staffs in all of Major League Baseball. This has to be a good sign for pitchers like Jon Lester and Daniel Bard who severely under performed in 2012.
Meltdown in Toronto: On June 3rd, Daniel Bard had possibly the worst outing a pitcher has ever had in the MLB. In just a short 1 2/3 inning span, Bard faced 13 batters, allowed five earned runs, walked six, hit two and gave up a mammoth home run. This would prove to be the end of Daniel Bard’s season in Boston, because shortly after this game he was sent down to Pawtucket where his struggles continued. Did I mention that Bard also hit the umpire in that game?
Jacoby Ellsbury suffering a dislocated shoulder was the first of many injuries to hurt Boston
The Injury Bug Kills: Not literally, but the injury bug did end up being one of the reasons that the Sox season became a disaster. It all started when Jacoby Ellsbury was forced to sit out for almost two months with a dislocated shoulder. After an MVP caliber season in 2011, the Sox were stuck in a position where they would be without one of their best all around players for the first portion of the season. Another major injury that almost secured the end of the season for Boston, was the Achilles injury to David Ortiz. During the first 90 games of the season, Ortiz was outstanding and he was carrying the team while Ellsbury was out. During the 70 games that Ortiz missed, the Red Sox struggled and ended up finishing in last place in the division. In all, the Sox put almost 30 players on the DL throughout the season and played almost 15 different players in the outfield.
A Star in the Making: Just a month into the season and the Red Sox made one of their best moves of the year. On May 2nd, Boston called Will Middlebrooks up to the show. Middlebrooks turned into one of the few bright spots during the 2012 season and if it wasn’t for Mike Trout’s historic season, he probably would have won Rookie of the Year. But of course, the injury bug that made it’s home at Fenway also affected Middlebrooks. After being hit by a pitch in August, Middlebrooks broke his wrist and was forced to miss the remainder of the season. Thanks to the injury I was able to meet him at a Patriots game while the team was on the road, so I guess it wasn’t too bad. The Middlebrooks call up is a great segue to my next headline…
Myself (left) and Will Middlebrooks (right) at a Patriots pre season game.
“We traded WHO?!” Part 1: Once everyone realized how good Will Middlebrooks actually was, it was clear that the services of Kevin Youkilis were no longer needed in Boston. A month before the trade deadline, one of Boston’s most beloved players was shipped off to Chicago for what seemed to be nothing more than a bag of balls and some potato chips. Youkilis had no place in Boston anymore, that was obvious, but it would have been nice to see Ben Cherington bring in more value than two guys who didn’t make it to the end of the season with the team.
“We traded WHO?!” Part 2: Did you really think I was going to list all of these stories and headlines from the 2012 season and not mention the blockbuster trade that sent Boston back to the Stone Age? 13+ games out of first place, the Red Sox officially called it quits on the season when they sent Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett, Adrian Gonzalez and Nick Punto to Los Angeles for James Loney and a group of prospects. Not only did this help the Red Sox get rid of Josh Beckett, who was causing all kinds of trouble in the clubhouse, but they also dumped a whole lot of money. This trade is what marked the end of the 2012 season for the Boston Red Sox and put them in an official “rebuilding” stage.
Honorable Mention: There were plenty of other big stories could have easily been listed here but due to space, they did not make the cut. The crash and burn showing at the 100th anniversary bash and Josh Beckett’s golfing incident were also major moments that helped headline a disastrous season in Boston. Also, the retirement of Jason Varitek was a bittersweet moment for Red Sox Nation.