As Spring Training comes to a close, new manager Bobby Valentine is working hard to instill a spirit of change in the Red Sox culture. Yesterday, he gathered the team in the clubhouse and handed out a pencil and a notebook to each play, and asked them to compose a list of 100 reasons why they personally failed last season.
"I look at this as a positive, you might even say inspirational exercise," Bobby V said, white teeth gleaming as he smiled. "For most of you, getting to 100 will be easy. If you need any suggestions, I've got them."
Player response was less than enthusiastic. "A real morale builder," said a somber Daniel Bard, who was stuck on reason one, "I sucked." "It's like asking us to relive being tortured." Josh Beckett, meanwhile, bristled at the task. "I can give you 100 reasons why everybody else on the team failed. And I can certainly tell you why this clown Valentine will fail. But me? Hell, I just pitched a few bad games down the stretch. And it's not that I failed, man. I was drunk and fat. There's a difference."
Valentine smiled broadly as he collected the papers. "Tomorrow's exercise will be listing my 100 best qualities!" he said enthusiastically.
"It's gonna be a long ass season," muttered Dustin Pedroia.