A 140-second video containing nothing but clips of the Boston Red Sox pratfalling, kicking the ball all over the infield, and losing it in the stadium lights at the absolute worst possible moments should, in theory, have some solid informational value, even for fans of the Boston Red Sox. After all, some number of the defensive bloopers captured in such a painful lowlight reel are important to understanding how the Red Sox went from 43–33 and in second place in a very competitive AL East on June 29 to where they are today, which is smack dab in the middle of Crud Town, 48–48 on the season, half-a-game out of last place, and functionally dead. To watch the video—tightly edited to pack as many individual screw-ups as possible into a Twitter-ready package—is to understand that the reeling Red Sox are doing themselves no favors these days, as their once-promising season circles the drain.
But you do not need to be seeking a deeper understanding of Boston’s gruesome slide down the standings in order to enjoy this video. It’s a good time all on its own, just as a startling record of baseball ineptitude. For context, it’s enough to know that the Sox are in hell now, and that their descent into hell has been marked by a run of sloppiness that would not be out of place as an early montage in a Major League sequel. Simply set it to “Gimme Some Lovin’” by The Spencer Davis Group and you’ve got yourself 1/60th of a hit feature film about a motley crew of washouts and pipe-fitters and convicts who come together to rediscover their love of the game while finishing nine games behind the dreaded Baltimore Orioles in the AL East basement. Unfortunately, with the Red Sox cannonballing out of the playoff picture just ahead of the trade deadline, many of these bozos, who sadly cannot point to non-baseball day jobs to explain why they have such a difficult time catching a baseball, may have to rediscover their love of the game someplace else.
The low point of Boston’s nightmare month came Friday, in a jaw-dropping 28–5 loss to the visiting Toronto Blue Jays. Technically only one of Toronto’s historic haul of runs was unearned, because technically only two of Boston’s many defensive blunders were errors, but that is only because baseball’s scoring system sometimes can be flummoxed by a perfect storm of bad luck, incompetence, and absolute demoralization producing, for example, the second inside-the-park grand slam in Blue Jays history:
Or by those same forces combining to allow a run to score with two outs on a pop-up that lands approximately six feet in front of the pitcher’s mound:
The all-star break is often a chance for foundering teams to get their acts together, and the Red Sox—beset by injuries and having been absolutely flattened by the Yankees, 27–3, over their final two games of the first half—needed the opportunity as badly as any team in baseball. Friday’s nightmare pretty much wiped out any hope of a post-break bounce, and brought Boston’s three-game total of runs allowed to an incredible 55, the most in baseball since the St. Louis Browns allowed 56 runs in a three game series in June 1950. Having allowed the most runs in a single game in franchise history Friday night, the miserable Red Sox trudged through the remainder of the weekend to a brutal, lopsided sweep at home. “The brand of baseball we’re playing is awful,” manager Alex Cora said following a dreary series-wrapping 8–4 loss. “We’re not catching the ball, we’re not putting good at-bats, we’re not throwing strikes. It’s bad. It’s really bad right now.” Sunday featured another delightful sequence of slapstick fielding, culminating with pitcher Hirokazu Sawamura getting lost on the infield while trying to run from the mound to first base:
How bad could this swoon get? The imagination whirs and crackles at the possibilities. No Red Sox team since 1936 has been outscored by 72 runs in a 20-game span, per Baseball Reference, so the 2022 team is truly headed in a very special direction. If they decide to sell and look to the future, the names might get more obscure and the expectations might be lowered, but the results could hardly be worse. For his part, Cora does not seem to think that the Red Sox should give up on this regular season: “I buy at the grocery store and don’t sell too many things at home,” Cora said, confusingly, after Sunday’s loss. “We’ve just got to play better.” There certainly is plenty of room for improvement.