Red Sox’ High-Profile Shake-Up Evokes Many Emotions, But Was Necessary to Improve Culture


Red Sox' High-Profile Shake-Up Evokes Many Emotions, But Was Necessary to Improve CultureIt’s been nearly a week since The Break Up. Red Sox general
manager Ben Cherington finally made the phone call that ended a relationship
that seemed so promising once upon a time. Cherington said good bye to
players we had once fallen in love with, players who were supposed to be the
perfect marriage of talent to create “The Best Team Ever.”

As we know, not all relationships work. This one got
dysfunctional quickly. This one became filled with animosity, clandestine
text messages and angry words that pushed things to the point of no return.

Everyone around knew the relationship was doomed. Of course,
some were too close to the situation, some thought the team was in the wrong
and that management had to be dumped. Apparently some players thought so,
too. It even went as far as calling for an intervention on a New York day
off back in June.

Now, it’s over. Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford, the twin
jewels of the 2010 MLB winter meetings, are gone. Josh Beckett, the
pitching hero of 2007, is with them in L.A., as is Nick Punto. Here in
Boston, most fans are celebrating how Cherington was able to lop a quarter of a
billion dollars off the payroll.

Yet we can’t let go of them quite yet, can we? Boston
writers (ironically in L.A. for the Sox/Angels series) continue to sift through
the rubble while sports talk yakkers scream about the players’ resentment of
the media. Back home we watch the scores and read the Los Angeles papers while smiling
when Beckett gives up a monstrous home run and the Dodgers lose three of five
since the trade.  

And we chuckle as we read T.J. Simers of the LA Times:

“[The Dodgers] suddenly stink.

“They appear lifeless and uninspired in three consecutive losses to
the dead meat likes of the Marlins and Rockies, and how much more condemnation
of their play can one make?”

Lifeless! Uninspired! That’s what we’ve seen here for
the past 12 months. Now you know why the break-up was needed.

It’s been a wild week of emotions for Red Sox fans. Joy,
anger, confusion have all battled for control of our sports psyche. According to, these are all normal feelings after a breakup. The website lists the following steps to get over a fractured relationship:

Don’t fight your feelings
It’s normal to
have lots of ups and downs, and feel many conflicting emotions, including
anger, resentment, sadness, relief, fear and confusion. It’s important to identify
and acknowledge these feelings. While these emotions will often be painful,
trying to suppress or ignore them will only prolong the grieving process. 

Talk about how you’re feeling
Even if it is
difficult for you to talk about your feelings with other people, it is very
important to find a way to do so when you are grieving. Knowing that others are
aware of your feelings will make you feel less alone with your pain and will
help you heal. Journaling can also be a helpful outlet for your feelings.

Remember that moving on is the end goal
Expressing your feelings will liberate you in a way, but it is important not to
dwell on the negative feelings or to overanalyze the situation. Getting stuck
in hurtful feelings like blame, anger and resentment will rob you of valuable
energy and prevent you from healing and moving forward. 

Remind yourself that you still have a future 
When you commit to another person, you create many hopes and dreams. It’s hard
to let these dreams go. As you grieve the loss of the future you once
envisioned, be encouraged by the fact that new hopes and dreams will eventually
replace your old ones. 

Know the difference between a normal reaction
to a breakup and depression

Grief can be paralyzing after a breakup, but
after a while, the sadness begins to lift. Day by day, and little by little,
you start moving on. However, if you don’t feel any forward momentum, you may
be suffering from depression.

The last two steps — reminding yourself that you still have a
future and knowing the difference between a normal reaction and depression  — are vitally important right now. Like anyone moving on from a
relationship, we don’t know how this all plays out until a new relationship is

The Sox have shed tens of millions of dollars off of the payroll
for next year. How they reinvest it will tell us what is to become of the
team. After two ugly nights in Anaheim, it’s easy to fall into
depression.  Just remember that the disappointment began long ago. It’s hard to imagine the Sox could be much worse than the team that sleepwalked
through the first five months of the season. And it’s hard to imagine the
team won’t learn from its high-spending mistakes as it reinvests its money.

There are just under five weeks left in the season. We’ll care less and less about Gonzalez and Beckett as the days go by. They are
gone, part of an underachieving chapter in Red Sox history. We can only
hope the ending of that chapter is the starting line of a new clubhouse culture
that Red Sox fans can be proud of.

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