We're making progress, with 'wink-wink' management transition to the Ben Cherington Era (let's hope it's anything approaching the Epstein reign). Sad to say, the Sox scuffle and the official title "The Collapse" have equal play with a highly competitive World Series.
Meanwhile, the Sox have yet to go into PR mode to repair the damages to the Good Ship Fenway. Suffice it to say, Sox loyalists (especially older ones) don't want to hear the words Narragansett or Mabel, Black Label. Damage control thus far gets limited to weak apologies and info that Jason Giambi and Roger Clemens used to share quality time in the Bomber dugout with a brewski.
With many citizens working to find a job, the Red Sox work to get compensation for Chicago's New Man About Town. Pipe dreams like Starlin Castro or the exile of John Lackey to the Windy City have been replaced by the hopes that we'll get a pinch-running prospect from the Cubs. Theo negotiating his own compensation does have a pretty incestuous feel to it.
Give us Barabbas. If we erected a stage on the Common, and asked the fandom which would be more damaging, the return of Whitey Bulger or John Lackey, no doubt the masses would cry, "Give us, Bulger." For a guy allegedly a 'great teammate' Lackey will leave with a reputation perhaps even lower than the Forgiven One, Bill Buckner. Public character assassination leaves a rotten taste in the mouth, but admittedly much of He Who Must No Longer Be Named's wounds were self-inflicted.
Safe bets. Don't expect the Red Sox to raise ticket prices. Even for the Sox that would be the "Audacity of Dope". We know that Curt Young slinking out of town wasn't greeted with any thunderstorm of tears, but we must wonder who is leaking all the goodies to the media.
Who's the boss? After an initial flood of speculation about the new managerial candidates, the wires have gone silent. And how does the first meeting between the manager and the players go? Where's Dick Williams when you need him?
The manager can't go in with all guns blazing and turn off the audience, but he has to develop a new team culture, which is tough when it's changed from 25 players, 25 cabs to 25 limos. You could appeal to their manhood and professionalism, no, that didn't work with the last administration any more. You could go Phil Jackson with a "basketball is sharing" spinoff, but that seems unlikely.
Probably something between the Mutiny on the Bounty flogging scene and James Bond about to be lasered in two in Goldfinger would be about right. Part of the issue is to eliminate the old guard that has too many connections to The Collapse, including Tim Wakefield, Jason Varitek, and maybe even David Ortiz. Can anyone see this happening to the Twins (Tom Kelly anyone?) or even the Orioles with the Showalter Way.
Someone's still got a lot of explaining to do, Lucchino. How do you treat multi-millionaire spoiled brats with kid gloves and get anywhere?