As reports begin to come out indicating that Boston Red Sox General Manager Theo Epstein has agreed in principle to a five year deal with the Chicago Cubs, the Boston Globe’s Bob Hohler revisits several incidents from the 2011 season, laying blame for the team’s September collapse like a bachelor party dropping fliff at a strip club.

Hohler speaks with “individuals familiar with the Sox operation at all levels” who tell him “a story of disunity, disloyalty, and dysfunction like few others in franchise history.” Although, some of this sensationalism reported here would likely make for a better “reality” TV show, I’m expecting to learn that HBO has picked up the option on this story with plans to develop it into a mini series.

Here are all the sordid and largely speculated details:

  • Josh Beckett, Jon Lester and John Lackey spent their off-nights drinking beer in the clubhouse and eating chicken and biscuits, rather than cheering on their teammates;
  • Several starting pitchers ignored pleas from training staff to stay in shape;
  • Along with worries over a new contract, Terry Francona’s prescription drug abuse, marital problems and nervousness for his son serving overseas distracted him from his duties as manager;
  • Jason Varitek was a lame duck captain who took no leadership role in the clubhouse;
  • David Ortiz acted as a disruption, committing two public acts of selfishness down the stretch;
  • Kevin Youkilis and Jacoby Ellsbury’s feud from last season made them both distant with the rest of the team;
  • Adrian Gonzalez didn’t accept a leadership role on the team;
  • Theo Epstein didn’t do enough to shore up the pitching staff and spent too much money on Carl Crawford; and
  • Ownership was obviously distracted from the Red Sox by its several other ventures, including most unforgivably, soccer.

Reminder: The Boston Red Sox finished one game out of the playoffs. One game. They had a bad start to the season and a bad finish, but for a large chunk of the year, they were the best team in baseball.

Baseball is full of randomness, and by looking at numbers we realize how much of a role that luck plays. It seems ridiculous to me to point to things like these and assume that they’d have a negative effect on the team as a whole. Even if all these things are true, it’s all speculation on the part of the writer as to what impact they had on the clubhouse.

I mean, who’s to say that Francona didn’t inspire his team with a painkiller addled pep talk that they otherwise would’ve lost? Or that the last piece of fried chicken that John Lackey ate gave him the strength to go out there and give one of his few good performances this season?

We don’t know. And it seems silly to speculate for the sole purpose of standing on some imaginary moral high ground. “I would never eat chicken and drink beer at my place of employment, so I must be better.”

And The Rest

What we do know is that the Detroit Tigers narrowed the distance between themselves and the Texas Rangers in the ALCS.

After suffering an oblique injury last night, Victor Martinez should be ready to go for Detroit today.

J.P. Ricciardi is one of the names being talked about for the Baltimore Orioles’ general manager job.

Chicago White Sox GM Kenny Williams briefly considered making Paul Konerko a player/manager. Awesome!

New York Yankees GM Brian Cashman understands exactly what playoff performances are worth.

Giants fan Bryan Stow’s ongoing recovery has taken him out of the hospital for the first time.

Pittsburgh Pirates starter Charlie Morton will be out six months after hip surgery.

Free agent shortstop to be, Jimmy Rollins, wants five years in his next deal.

Houston Astros reliever Bud Norris is not a fan of Brian Wilson. Brian Wilson is likely unaware of who Bud Norris is.

When the Los Angeles Angels clean house, they really clean house.

Finally, the real “problem” with the New York Yankees is that their killer instinct has vanished. Sure.