What a nightmare it’s been.

Contrary to the “experts”, I think the injury to Red Sox rookie third-baseman Will Middlebrooks officially ends Boston’s post-season hopes. There have been calls for manager Booby Valentine to hit the road ever since his ill-fated remarks about Kevin Youkilis, (doesn’t that seem like an eternity ago?) What a nightmare year it’s been.

When we limped across the finish line last year, Terry Francona – statistically the best manager in Sox history – was unceremoniously given the boot. Then Theo Epstein, The Architect, fled to Chicago. His protégé, Ben Cherington, took the helm and hired the worst candidate available to take Tito’s place: Bobby V.

With the retirements of Wake and The Captain, some changes would have to be made. How about we make the best setup man in baseball, Daniel Bard, a starter? Lesson not learned by watching what happened to Joba Chamberlain. Rookies like Iglesias, Lavarnway and Middlebrooks all deserved to be with the big boys on opening day; none were.

Arguably the best closer in baseball, Jonathan Papelbon, finally got his wish and signed a long-term contract with the Phillies, so who’s gonna fill his shoes? Let’s steal Mark Melancon, no wait, he’s not up to the challenge, let’s trade away the future for Andrew Bailey; roll the dice and hope he doesn’t get injured like he seems to every year.

Could we have traded Youk at the beginning of the season since everyone knew Middlebrooks was going to take his place eventually? Was putting A-Gon in right field a bad idea? His epic offensive fall might suggest so. How many bad decisions could one team make?

Now we have to watch the Yankees coast to the playoffs and wonder just how – or maybe if – we can get our act together for next year…

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It does not ever go away.

My heart aches for the Reid family. Garrett Reid, son of Eagles coach Andy Reid, was found dead Sunday morning in his room at the club’s training camp at Lehigh University. He was 29…

Since the news broke, comments have poured in saying the former small-time drug dealer got what he deserved. Those who live by drugs should die by drugs, et cetera.

I don’t care.

Like millions of Americans, Garrett got mixed up in drugs. While it’s easy to smugly be holier-than-thou, nearly everyone knows someone who has a drug problem. Yes, chances are if he were Black, he’d have been locked up a while ago. This post isn’t about the evils of drugs or the inequality of American society.

It’s about the sorrow parents go through when one of their children dies. My daughter died nearly a year ago, and no, drugs were not involved. But I know the searing pain Andy and Tammy Reid are suffering now. I still feel it. It does not ever go away.

My prayers go out to the Reid family on this, their darkest hour.

Shut up

Some things we know, like Michael Phelps has won more Olympic Gold Medals than anyone in history. There are some things we’re pretty sure of, like Gabby Douglas is probably destined for stardom. Then there are some things we just don’t know, like did Chinese swimmer Ye Shiwen use performance-enhancing drugs.

Same applies to politics.

Some things we know, like Mitt Romney’s campaign has a lot more money to spend than does Obama’s. Some things we’re pretty sure of, like the string of recently enacted voter-suppression laws will have a major effect on the outcome of the race. And some things we just don’t know, like is there anything untoward in Mitt Romney’s tax records.

Presumptive Republican Presidential Nominee Mitt Romney told Senator Harry Reid to “put up or shut up” about Romney’s taxes. Not sure what that means. Since it’s Romney who refuses to “put up”, i.e. release his complete tax records, he’s essentially telling Reid to shut up.

As a result of this back-and-forth, we now know two more things. Mitt Romney will not release any more tax records. And if he becomes President, he’ll be just as dismissive of his political foes.