During their curse-busting run in the 2004, the Red Sox were fondly known as “idiots.” Long hair, “Cowboy Up,” Johnny Damon, Kevin Millar, Big Papi, and all the rest. It was a badge of pride for the long-suffering Sox, and it said much about the improbable way they made their World Series run.
Eventually, though, the word “idiot” came to take on a more literal meaning at Fenway. Yes, the Sox would again win the World Series in 2007, but along the way — and still today — the drama surrounding the team seems to take away from what’s been a great near-decade of baseball.
Yes, the Sox are still “idiots,” but they’re not quite so lovable these days. In fact, you can make a timeline of all their “idiot” moments ever since “idiot” stopped meaning something good …
Oct. 31, 2005 — Theo’s temporary exile
Rather than sign a three-year, $4.5-million offer, wonderboy GM Theo Epstein walked away from the Red Sox. Weeks later, however, Epstein agreed to return. His temporary departure, though, revealed cracks in the relationship between Epstein and CEO Larry Lucchino, the real power player within the organization. While Epstein was away, the Sox traded for Josh Beckett.
June 5, 2008 — Manny takes a swing at Youk
Manny Ramirez and Kevin Youkilis liked to play around. But during a home game against the Rays a few weeks after a road trip out west, Manny Ramirez took a real swing at Kevin Youkilis in the dugout. The near-slugfest likely stemed from Youkilis’ public complaints about Ramirez being slow to join his teammates in an on-field brawl earlier in the game.
June 28, 2008 — Manny and the traveling secretary
When the Red Sox’s traveling secretary told Manny Ramirez that he wouldn’t be able to accommodate his game-day request for 16 tickets to a road game, Ramirez shoved 64-year-old Jack McCormick to the ground. Ramirez was eventually fined by the team.
July 25, 2008 — Manny being Manny
Moments before a game against the Yankees, Ramirez asked out of the lineup despite the fact that his injured knee was healed. Over the next few days, Ramirez showed a visible lack of effort on the field, possibly out of anger over his contract situation. In less than a week, he was traded to the Dodgers as part of the three-way swap. Some Red Sox fans tried to maintain a level of support.
July 30, 2009 — PEDs, please
The New York Times reported that David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez both tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs back in 2003, when both were core members of the Red Sox. While Ortiz has largely escaped judgment, this (and other missteps) have become part of Ramirez’s story.
Sept. 28, 2011 — The Collapse
When the Red Sox lost to Baltimore 4-3 on the final day of the regular season, they finished the month with a terrible mark of 7-20. As a result, they became the first team in major-league history to have a nine-game cushion to start September and then fail to make the postseason.
Oct. 12, 2011 — Chicken, beer and video games
On this day, the Boston Globe ran a story by Bob Hohler reporting that pitchers Josh Beckett, John Lackey and Jon Lester — during the stretch-drive collapse — developed a “habit of drinking beer, eating fast-food fried chicken, and playing video games in the clubhouse during games while their teammates tried to salvage a once-promising season.”
Oct. 12, 2011 - Francona thrown under the bus
In that same Globe story, an anonymous team source, in part, blamed (former) manager Terry Francona’s divorce and use of pain medication for the Red Sox’s collapse. By any standard, it was pathetic case of scapegoating on the part of the team. The tasteless move came mere days after the Sox declined to pick up Francona’s option for the 2012 season.
April 15, 2012 — Bobby V. vs. Youkilis
During a regular appearance on a Boston radio station, manager Bobby Valentine broadsided the struggling Kevin Youkilis. "I don't think he's as physically or emotionally into the game as he has been in the past for some reason,” Valentine said. The manager later apologized to Youkilis for his comments but relations remained tense between the two right up until Youkilis was traded to the White Sox on June 24, 2012.
May 6, 2012 — Beckett plays golf
The day after Beckett was scratched from a start because of an injured back (lat muscle), he was spotted playing golf. His implosion in his first start after “golf-gate” added to the perception that Beckett doesn’t take his duties seriously. Beckett responded that what he does on his off day is his business.