Red Sox ownership needs to treat its players like a father who catches his kid smoking and forces them to smoke an entire pack in one sitting.
They need to make them player-managers.
I'm not saying it would solve everything or propel the 2012 Boston Red Sox to the playoffs. It would probably cause a few fistfights, actually. But at least it could give the coddled crybabies some much-needed perspective.
Just to spread the joy, the Red Sox should divide the rest of the season into 10-game trials. With 40 games remaining, that should give four of the biggest malcontents on the team an opportunity.
David Ortiz (Aug. 21-30)
Big Papi doesn't seem to be in too big of a hurry to swing the bat again, so he gets the first shot.
He'll immediately ingratiate himself to everyone headed for free agency this winter because they'll get first dibs at a spot in the lineup. Anyone with job security beyond this season will ride the pine.
If anyone has a beef with the official scorer, Papi will go to the mat for them. Unless, of course, they interrupt one of his press conferences while he's complaining about only having a 10-day manager's contract.
Dustin Pedroia (Aug. 31-Sep. 11)
Pedroia's stint will get off to a rocky start after ownership denies his request to hire Terry Francona as his bench coach.
"That's not the way we do things around here," John Henry tells Pedroia.
Adrian Gonzalez (Sep. 12-21)
On Gonzalez's first day, each player will find a new cell phone with a text only plan in their locker. The phones will be programmed for John Henry's number exclusively. Players are allowed to take the phones to the dugout and onto the field with them and use them whenever they disagree with one of Gonzalez's moves.
Don't like getting the bunt sign? Call time and text John Henry.
The catcher calling for too many fastballs? Step off and text John Henry.
Headphones stopped working? Sorry, Mr. Henry is in a meeting in Liverpool.
John Lackey (Sep. 22-Oct. 3)
If Lackey's going to insist on hanging around his teammates, might as well give them ample opportunity to curse at him and look incredulous whenever he makes a managerial mistake.
Of course, Lackey will have to give good buddies Josh Beckett and Jon Lester important roles on his coaching staff. To avoid wear-and-tear, Beckett's duties will be limited to handing injured teammates their golf bag as they come off the field. And with the clubhouse full of young September call-ups, Lester will be in charge of carding everyone.
NESN will not let the last 10 days of the season go by without one final corporate tie-in: the "Not-S0-Ford-Tough Underacheiver of the Game Award," given after each game to the player who does the least with the most. The winner gets to drive Lester's truck home.
If, after all this, the Sox miraculously make the playoffs, the steady hand of Carl Crawford will guide them to the World Series.
Then it will be Daisuke Matsuzaka's turn to shine.
Randy Whitehouse is a staff writer. His email firstname.lastname@example.org.