Inside the collapse of the Red Sox

Dedication waned, unity unraveled, and manager Terry Francona lost influence as a once-inspiring Red Sox season ended in epic failure.

BALTIMORE, MD - SEPTEMBER 26: Carl Crawford #13 of the Boston Red Sox (L) and teammates Jacoby Ellsbury #2 (C) and Josh Reddick #16 (R) leave the dugout after losing to the Baltimore Orioles 6-3 at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on September 26, 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

Rob Carr/Getty Images

The Boston Globe's Bob Hohler conducted a wide investigation into the Red Sox collapse. Here are highlights of his findings.

2-15-11: Fort Myers, FL: John Lackey, Jon Lester and Josh Beckett arriving at the first official workout of Spring Training for Red Sox pitchers and catchers took place at the team's Player Development Complex. (Globe Staff Photo/Jim Davis) section:sports slug:unknown

Jim Davis/Globe Staff

Pitchers John Lackey, Jon Lester, and Josh Beckett drank beer, ordered take-out chicken, and played video games during games.

2-16-11: Fort Myers, FL: FOUR ACES SHOWING.......Four fifths of the Red Sox starting rotation (left to right) Josh Beckett, John Lackey, Jon Lester, and Clay Buchholz sat down for an extended interview session with former Red Sox pitcher John Smoltz (not pictured) for the MLB Network after practice. Spring Training workouts for Red Sox players took place at the team's Player Development Complex. (Globe Staff Photo/Jim Davis) section:sports slug:unknown Library Tag 02172011 Sports

Jim Davis/Globe Staff

Beckett, Lester, and Lackey, who were joined at times by Buchholz, began the practice of drinking beer in the clubhouse late in 2010.


Manager Terry Francona dealt with a variety of health and personal issues. He spent the year living out of a hotel after moving out of the home he shared with his wife of 30 years.

Francona spent the year living out of a hotel after moving out of the home he shared with his wife of 30 years. He also denied that his performance was affected by use of pain medication.

Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Team sources said Francona's use of pain medication may have hurt his performance. Francona vehemently denied the claims.

Nearly four hours befor gametime Sox manager Terry Francona and Sox general manager Theo Epstein confer in the stands of Fenway Park on a drizzly afternoon.

Stan Grossfeld/Globe Staff

Players expressed anger at having to play a doubleheader on Aug. 27 because of Hurricane Irene’s approach the next day. The Red Sox won both games, but the players' anger lingered, management feared.

September 19, 2011- Sox owner John Henry in his box during the September swoon.

Stan Grossfeld/Globe Staff

After the doubleheader incident, Red Sox officials gave every player a $300 set of headphones and threw a party for the players on team owner John Henry’s yacht. But the team's losing ways continued.

Boston Red Sox's Jacoby Ellsbury, left, Jason Varitek and Dustin Pedroia, right, react during the eighth inning of the first game of a baseball doubleheader against the New York Yankees, Sunday, Sept. 25, 2011, at Yankee Stadium in New York. The Yankees defeated the Red Sox 6-2. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)


Veterans who no longer actively exerted their leadership included the captain, Jason Varitek, who was saddled with injuries and ineffective on the field (he batted .077 in September).

09-19-11 Boston, MA: Red Sox DH David Ortiz hit a shot down the rightfield line in the fifth inning, and when it was ruled a foul ball, an argument ensued. After he returned to the plate to continue his at bat, he hit a blast to deep center field that looked like it might leave the yard, but when the ball was caught to end the inning, Ortiz responded by taking off his helmet and slamming it to the ground in frustration. The Boston Red Sox hosted the Baltimore Orioles in the first half of a day-night doubleheader at Fenway Park. (Globe Staff Photo/Jim Davis) section: sports slug:unknown

Jim Davis/Globe Staff

David Ortiz's most memorable act off the field was bursting into a Francona news conference to complain about a scorer's decision. He also questioned Francona's move of not making Alfredo Aceves a starter.

Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Tim Wakefield acknowledges the crowd after recording his 200th career win against the Toronto Blue Jays in their MLB American League baseball game at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts September 13, 2011. REUTERS/Adam Hunger (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASEBALL)

Adam Hunger/Reuters

Tim Wakefield appeared more interested in himself than the team when he asserted that the Sox should bring him back in 2012 to pursue the franchise's all-time record for wins.

Boston Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia sits in the dugout before a baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2011, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

AP Photo

In the end, only Dustin Pedroia and a few other players appeared to remain fully committed to winning, according to team sources.

Boston, MA 9/4/11 Boston Red Sox Carl Crawford reacts to a called strike 2 as Texas Rangers catcher Mike Napoli throws the ball back to the pitcher during 8th inning action at Fenway Park on Sunday September 4, 2011. Crawford lined out to short. (Matthew J. Lee/Globe staff) slug: 05sox reporter:

Matthew J. Lee/Globe staff

Sources said at least one top executive questioned signing Carl Crawford, claiming that his skills seemed to duplicate Jacoby Ellsbury's. Crawford ended up performing much worse than expected.

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