It was quite a thing to watch. Forget the numbers involved in the drop from first to playoff observer. It was clear something was wrong when Lester didn't care enough to throw strikes in his last Yankee games. Today's Boston Globe sets out one interpretation of what happened, based largely on anonymous interviews:
By all accounts, the 2011 Sox perished from a rash of relatively small indignities. For every player committed to the team’s conditioning program, there was a slacker. For every Sox regular who rose early on the road to take optional batting practice, there were others who never bothered. For every player who dedicated himself to the quest for a championship, there were too many distracted by petty personal issues.
Blame is placed on Francona's health and marriage, too. But, a bit oddly, the most blame is placed on forcing a Saturday doubleheader against Oakland to avoid a hurricane coming through. Seems a bit of an odd thing to ditch a season over but the trio of Beckett, Lester, and Lackey are suggested to have done just that. Called a hatchet job, it's probably not the whole story but the idea that a team of millionaires who only have to play a game could get this sour and uppity is amazing.
Now wonder Epstein's with the Cubs now.