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Back in the 1930s, a man named Frank Winter docked a pair of schooners in the small coastal town of Wiscasset, Maine. His intention was to use them to ship lumber and coal up and down the New England coast, but before the plan materialize, Winter died. The people of Wiscasset, being Mainers, weren’t about to meddle into someone else’s business, especially when it didn’t bother them. So the ships sat there in water—for the next six decades, rotting away.
Every summer my family would drive through Wiscasset on our way to the beach. And every time we’d look out the window and survey the newest stage of boats’ decay. And every year my dad would shout out the window, “Let ‘em rot!” as we drove by.
Then in 1998, with most of the ships reduced to junk wood floating around in the water, the town trucked them to a landfill.
And that’s what this Red Sox season was—those two ships. And that’s what today is—the trip to the dump.
Unlike last year, where the destruction was swift and unexpected, this season’s demise was protracted and clearly visible. Each tiff between Valentine and the players. Or between Valentine and management. Or Valentine and the media. Every anonymous report about the cancerous locker room, injuries, Beckett’s petulance, the Youk trade, “The Trade” trade, player turnover, management turnover, rumors of the owners selling, the plodding losing streaks, the death of Johnny Pesky—each another phase of rotting and each clearly visible to everyone who turned an eye to them, just like the slow destruction of those ships was visible to anyone who drove through Wiscasset between the 1930s and the 1990s.
Maybe years from now we’ll look back nostalgically at this season the way I look back at those ships in Wiscasset. But today, after 161 games of watching this team slowly rot and sink into the standings, we can finally truck it away to the dump, where the Indians and the Mariners and the Astros and all the other crap—like those ships—belong, hopefully never to be seen again.