Wow. This blockbuster went from rumor to done deal so quickly, we haven’t time to let it soak in. With many trades, the rumors circulate for so long, when it finally happens it’s like easing into a warm bath. The megadeal pulled off by the Boston Red Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers this weekend is like jumping off a dock into cold water on a hot summer day. Abrupt, yet refreshing.

On Friday afternoon, we started to hear the rumblings. The Dodgers claimed Adrian Gonzalez off waivers from the Red Sox. The Dodgers claimed Josh Beckett off waivers. The teams were discussing a deal for one of the players, wait, both. Now the deal includes Carl Crawford and Nick Punto. Who is Rubby De La Rosa?

This trade has been met by almost universal joy in Red Sox Nation because everyone who follows this team felt something had to happen. Anything. The status quo was a disaster.

The 2012 Boston Red Sox are the most unlikeable team New England has seen since the 1990 Patriots. You remember those hapless Pats, right? That team went 1-15 and was last in the NFL in scoring. It allowed 30 or more points seven times and scored 10 or fewer points 10 times.

That team was bad, but that’s not what made those Patriots unlikeable. They were bad and they were jerks. They were owned by a jerk, Victor Kiam. This was the team that harassed reporter Lisa Olson in the locker room and was lampooned on Saturday Night Live.

Fans expressed their disdain for those Patriots by staying away from Foxboro Stadium. The 1990 Pats were the club that set in motion the gears that almost moved the team to St. Louis, before Robert Kraft bought the club a few years later.

Despite the near universal frustration with the 2012 Red Sox, fans haven’t stayed away from Fenway Park. Unlike Foxboro Stadium, which was a beer-soaked concrete mausoleum, an eyesore, and more uncomfortable than a bad blind date, Fenway Park is a destination. For some, Fenway is the draw, not the team. Even if the diehards stay home, the tourists will flock to the ballpark to sing “Sweet Caroline.”

This trade is important because if nothing else, it’s an acknowledgment that something had to change.

These Boston Red Sox aren’t just mediocre, they’re not fun to watch. They’ve stumbled through the season as if any minute they’ll flip a switch and become a pennant contender. That’s not going to happen.

Boston’s opponent this weekend, the Kansas City Royals, may not win too often, but the Royals’ roster is full of young players hustling every night. In Kansas City, fans can see progress. In Boston, the perception is too many players just don’t put in the effort. The perception is, this team is going backwards.

Enough with the whining about calls. Jon Lester acts like he’s the only pitcher who has ever been squeezed by an umpire. If Lester acted cool and calm and just threw the next pitch, he might get the benefit of the doubt on the next close one. Instead, he stews, loses his focus, and manages to turn one close call into a bad inning almost every single time.

Enough with the whining, period. No more text messages to John Henry. No more excuses when you play poorly. Fans simply want some accountability.

The 2012 season is lost. Work on that for 2013.

Crawford never fit in, and Gonzalez played well, although the bar was probably set too high. Punto will learn to shred jerseys in L.A.

Beckett angered Red Sox fans by playing golf while on the disabled list, by being surly with the media, and most of all, by pitching poorly, and most were happy to see him climb aboard a cross country flight. As mad as you are at Beckett now, remember that in October 2007, when he had to be, he was the best pitcher on the planet.

Maybe Beckett will recapture that form for the Dodgers. If that happens, so be it. This Red Sox team had to get blown up, even if the explosion causes fireworks in Los Angeles.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

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