Thursday, September 29, 2011

Unimpressive Presser

General Manager Theo Epstein and Manager Terry Francona met the media this afternoon to explain the Black September slide of the Red Sox. In general, both men used the "it's too soon" excuse to avoid the 800-pound gorillas in the room—whether either or both will be back in 2012. Terry did not look like he wanted to be there—but there were some insights.

First, both grudgingly admitted that there were signs of trouble with this team—on several levels—even when they were winning. Theo stated, "We might tend to ignore things that need fixing when you're winning." Tito had a similar take on this issue: "We fell short at times on the field. We didn't put our best foot forward."

One telling quote from Francona, which might suggest he is on his way out, made reference to the constant pressure in Boston—not just after a collapse like he just went through. The manager said, "There's not a whole lot here that isn't trying."

Starting pitching (and its conditioning) was acknowledged by Epstein to be a critical flaw in the 2011 team. He said at one point, "It is an issue. We've gone backwards on pitching overall. We need to figure out how to do a better job of keeping players healthy—stronger throughout the season. We have high standards on health and conditioning, and, in some cases, I don't think they were met."

Finally, Theo laid out a prescription for fixing what ails the Carmine Hose: "We need to identify the issues that need addressing. We have to take a hard look at ourselves—all of us. I believe in a lot of people in this organization, when we're at our best, we're the best in baseball. This year, we were not the best. We will spend a lot of time assessing what went wrong."

Very interesting. Not very enlightening. One thing for certain, this will be the most interesting off-season in years.