As the Red Sox continue to unravel like argyles woven on a faulty loom, desperation, despair and dyspepsia are filling the air. Considering how disappointing the past four months have been, none of this is surprising but it is why this moment must be recognized for what it is.

These are dangerous times for Ben Cherington, the young general manager who inherited a mess from his predecessor but one not wholly devoid of his own fingerprints as well, and now must try to salvage that which looks unsalvageable. Like electoral politics in a bad economy, there is a tendency at moments like this to simply say, "Off with their heads."