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…