It’s been three days since the self-professed “team leader” of 2017 Boston Red Sox, Dustin Pedroia grounded into the season’s last out.

Since I’m never on a deadline, I can take a little time to reflect and compose these columns, to try to say something honest and, hopefully, unique. So here’s my postmortem for the 2017 Red Sox.

The Red Sox lost an ALDS series that I expected them to lose. In the simplest terms, a better team beat them. That doesn’t mean that I didn’t hope against hope the Red Sox might have a trick up their sleeve, that they might luck into two more wins and advance. For a brief moment, after Rafael Devers’ in-the-park homerun in Game 4, I believed it was going to happen.

But I know better.

Despite how contemptible this team was—and make no bones about it, this was one of the most unlikable teams since 2011, and before that we’d have to revisit the Carl Everett-years—I was still cheering them, forgiving them for being, collectively, complete assholes.

It wasn’t a pretty season. It was a season peppered with under-performing young talent and veterans with two-ton chips on their shoulders. The season started with a slimmed-down Pablo Sandoval, a salary-suck, showing up to remind everyone that despite choosing the Cobb Salad over a steak-and-cheese, he was still an ass-ton of suck on the field and a money pit for the roster.

Then there was $30 million man David Price (and his dog, Astro) who wants Red Sox fans to believe he’s redeemed himself with a handful of nice performances coming out of the bullpen for the final two weeks of the season—after languishing on the DL for the majority of the Dog Days. Yes, Price was good coming out of the pen. Neat. But has he proven to be an ace pitcher over his first three-years in Boston?

Don’t forget, David Price (and his dog, Astro) were personnel problems when it came to bullying Hall-of-Famers on airplanes. And where was “the team leader”? Cheering on Price (and his dog, Astro), according to reports, like the perfect little lapdog, after throwing his teammates overboard earlier in the season after a brush-up with Baltimore’s Manny Machado.

As for former-manager John Farrell, I believe Shakespeare said it better: “Goodnight, sweet prince, and flights of the angels sing thee to thy rest. Why does the drum come hither?”

It was time for John Farrell to go. If the Red Sox fired future Hall-of-Fame and current-Cleveland manager Terri Francona for losing control of his clubhouse, Farrell was an inevitability. It doesn’t take a baseball mastermind to figure out that Farrell often appeared clueless, shell-shocked during games, and with the talent in this clubhouse, my cat could have probably managed this team into the postseason slot.

Now the guessing game begins. Who is on Dave Dombrowski’s elusive list? Alex Cora? Jason Veritek (unlikely)? Brad Ausmus? Ron Gardenhire? Gary DiSarcina? Me?

In the end, I hate endings. I hate the fact that this baseball season, as a Red Sox fan, is over. I hate the fact that I hated this team and will live with this bitter taste on my tongue until they take the field at Fort Myers next February.

Between now and then maybe they’ll realize that the problem was never the media, the meanie-broadcaster with the feathered hair or those terrible beat writers fishing for quotes because it’s their damn job; maybe they’ll realize that millionaires moaning about playing a game that hundreds of millions of men would kill to play as opposed to commuting to work each morning is a bad optic.

And maybe, just maybe, come February, they’ll play the game with the joy and energy and intensity and verve of the teams still playing right now.

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Nathan Graziano lives in Manchester, New Hampshire. His most recent books include Hangover Breakfasts, a collection of short prose pieces (Bottle of Smoke Press in 2012), a novella titled Sort Some Sort of Ugly (Marginalia Publishing in 2013), and his new and selected poems titled My Next Bad Decision (Artistically Declined Press, 2014). A new collection of short fiction titled Almost Christmas will be released in 2017. For more information, visit his website: www.nathangraziano.com

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