We met [Friday] morning ... I passed along my frustrations at my inability to effectively reach the players. ... I told them that out of my enormous respect for this organization and the people in it, they may need to find a different voice to lead the team.Larry Lucchino
[Did the Red Sox directly ask Francona to return as manager?] No. ... I think they wanted to know about how I felt about coming back. I think that's a fair way to put it.
Once I make up my mind, I think I'm ready. We could have waited through the weekend, but it would have just prolonged getting done what's needed to be done.
I'm not sure how much support there was from ownership, and I don't know that I felt really comfortable. ... It's got to be everybody together, and I was questioning some of that a little bit.
I just felt frustrated with my inability to reach maybe guys I've been able to in the past.
I wanted desperately for our guys to care about each other on the field. ... When things go bad, your true colors show and I was bothered by what was showing.
When I thought I tried to help make that better, and the coaches also, I just wasn't ever comfortable. You've heard me say all the time about going in one direction, and getting through challenges and meeting them together. ... It just wasn't happening to my satisfaction.
Ultimately you don't need a team that wants to go out to dinner together, but you need to have a team that wants to protect each other on the field and be fiercely loyal to each other off the field.
Some players had "a sense of entitlement".
This team became challenging at the end. I remember a day in Toronto, it was after the game we won I think 14-0, and I ended up having a meeting ... I thought we were spending too much energy on things that weren't putting our best foot forward toward winning. ... Teams normally, as the season progresses, there's events that make you care about each other, and this club, it didn't always happen as much as I wanted it to.
[Francona] did an exceptional job in conveying the strength of his feelings and his frustrations and his fatigue here in Boston.Theo Epstein
Lucchino's level of awareness of the problems was "quite low ... until very recently". His reaction? "Surprise. ... [T]here were some other emotions, but I'd rather just leave it at that."
I asked Tito ... whether he could take a couple of weeks off and go think about the things that didn't go right this year, what we weren't able to get out of this team ... [and if he] could come back next spring training with a new voice and provide some of the leadership that's needed to improve the culture in our clubhouse ... He thought about it and he said that he thought it was time to move on.Re John Lackey
It surprised me that his feeling was that extreme about it.
[W]e knew along the way it wasn't perfect. ... [T]here were some issues, and there [was] some frustration, that Tito had. I think when you're winning, a lot of that stuff gets covered up ...
Certain players we have that are leaders can step up and raise the level of their leadership even more. ... [W]e could have more accountability down there.
There was a lot of talent in that clubhouse, and we didn't get results commensurate with that talent.
Does the roster need a complete overhaul? I really don't think so. ... Do we need to make changes? Absolutely, and we will.
I think we have high standards in [conditioning]. I can't sit here and say those standards have been met across the board.
He's always been demonstrative. It kind of looks bad on the field. It looks as if he's showing up his teammates. He was that way in Anaheim, too, so we knew that when we signed him. We also knew that he always apologizes the next day, that he's a great teammate except for those times he's rolling his eyes. But his teammates forgive him and they understand.Theo Epstein:
He's tried to change, but it's something he can't change. It's an emotional reaction. We'll continue to work with him on it.Terry Francona:
I don't think you can put in a guy's contract that ... he's not allowed to roll his eyes. I don't think anyone in the clubhouse had a problem with Lack, nor do I. I think we certainly wished that it would've gone better on the mound.Theo Epstein:
We have to ... see if there's things we can do with him, physically, to put him in a better position to have success on the mound. ... Then there's the mental standpoint.Anonymous Sources
One Red Sox player:
It was all right [clubhouse atmosphere]. Some guys had some issues, and everybody was on their own program. It was different [than other years]. People were taking stuff more personal. Sometimes it got out of hand ...One uniformed member of the team:
Josh [Beckett] has some real leadership qualities, but this time he didn't lead left, he didn't lead right, he led wrong.One prominent Red Sox player:
They don't need a leader. They need a babysitter.One Red Sox executive cited an indifference by some players to conditioning. "Gluttony," he called it.
Member of the Red Sox executive staff:
You have to go with a tougher guy. There has to be more of a professional atmosphere. There have to be rules.Red Sox Players
I wish I could have played my whole career for him. ... [T]he biggest thing that I am upset with, and I think a lot of guys are upset with, is the accountability of each other. ... There are a lot of things that went on that [were] disrespectful ...David Ortiz:
Tito is a good dude. He might have had his problems with [ownership and front office], but I really don't know anything about that. ... In my situation, I never got in Tito's way and he never got in mine. He would remind me about some things sometimes when I really needed it.David Ortiz:
I know we have some players that [the organization thought were] worried about some other shit and sometimes there were certain things that no one in the clubhouse can control. I was trying and I have no issues. My only problem was when I started being benched [in 2010] and that was my only issue with Tito. Other than that we're cool.Clay Buchholz:
It was always just real relaxed. It was a relaxed atmosphere. ... I never even took it into consideration to even think about it. Whenever all the stuff started swirling around on the Internet and everything and on the TV, that's when everything clicked ... I might not have the same manager next year if this keeps going the way it's going.David Ortiz:
He probably had problems with some players. I can't really give you too many details about that. ... Trust me, the way things are going down right now here, they [players who were not giving 100%] will learn. They will learn. ... I'm pretty sure it's gonna be better for next year. ... I get along with pretty much everybody. [At] the same time I'm nobody to determine who does the right thing and who doesn't ... It's not like I'm anybody's babysitter or anything like that.Kevin Cash (2007-08, 2010):
I'm shocked. It's unbelievable. ... Whether you were David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia or the 24th, 25th guy on the roster, which was me, he did everything in his power to make you feel like you were equal with everyone with the way he treated you. He just made you confident and showed you the value you had with this club. ... I don't see how you're going to find a better guy to deal with the constant drama that's always going on in Boston ...Media
Jackie MacMullan, ESPNBoston:
[Jacoby Ellsbury's] teammates like and admire him, but he keeps to himself, confides only in Jed Lowrie.Scott Lauber, Herald:
Can you blame him? His teammate two or three lockers to his left continued, as recently as two months ago, to publicly question Ellsbury's decision to retreat to Arizona last summer for treatment for broken ribs. Kevin Youkilis has always been a hot button. On occasion, his intensity and his honesty were his biggest assets, but not this season. The injured Youkilis showed up every day the way he wanted Ellsbury to, but he turned so sour and cynical that his carping and insistence on inserting himself into other people's affairs turned him into a detriment.
Then we have Ortiz, who ... didn't seem to grasp how damaging it was to publicly question whether Alfredo Aceves should be a starter instead of a reliever, and how it undermined both the manager and the general manager at a critical time of the year.
A source told the Herald that several starting pitchers would drink beer during games, and there was grousing among players about Francona's listed bus times to the ballpark on the road. Francona declined to discuss those issues ...John Tomase, Herald:
Strength coach Dave Page, long considered one of the best in the game, was not a fully utilized resource.Steve Buckley, Herald:
Free agent bust John Lackey's postgame pressers this season were as laughable as his pitching, what with all the excuses, and let's not forget the constant eye-rolling when his glove men failed to come up with the ball. ... Epstein said, "I don't think it's appropriate for excuses." ... Yet Lackey made excuses — and pointed fingers at others — and gets away with it.Gordon Edes, ESPNBoston:
[Francona] was already convinced ownership didn't want him back, which is why he was telling members of the organization he was finished the day before he was officially gone.Gordon Edes, ESPNBoston:
[T]here are two separate issues in play here. One is to pretend this all was Francona's call. ... The second is whether Sox ownership had probable cause to press for a change. Given the stories that have surfaced in the past couple of days ... the answer is an unequivocal, how-was-this-allowed-to-go-on yes.
Starting pitchers drinking in the clubhouse during games on days when they weren't pitching, which can leave one boozily indifferent to the plight of teammates after they've just lost in extra innings ... has been going on the past two seasons.
Since this story broke, Edes's reporting has been exemplary. At the Friday press conferences for Francona and Epstein, he was the only one who asked direct, important questions. If you want to read about the Sox from a guy who can report the facts and offer strong, informed opinions without making snarky comments and insults, Edes is your man. The entire ESPNBoston team has been outperforming the papers for awhile.
Alex Speier and Rob Bradford at WEEI have also been excellent.