BOSTON – October 2011 will go down as one of the ugliest months in the long history of the Boston Red Sox. And the Sox didn’t play a game.

Instead, they spent the month trying to recover from one of the worst collapses in baseball history.

Blowing a 9 1/2-game lead in the final month is bad enough, but things got a whole lot worse in the weeks that followed.

Things came to a head with last week’s piece in The Boston Globe detailing what happened behind the scenes, from players eating fried food and drinking beer in the clubhouse to personal issues that could have contributed to the manager’s inability to connect with his players.

Now, at last, it’s time to move on.

The Sox finally took the offensive on the public relations battle last Friday when principal owner John Henry made an unexpected visit to a Boston sports radio station.

In a contentious interview that lasted more than an hour, Henry said in no uncertain terms that he was tired of the media’s bashing of ownership.

He also made it clear that ownership is deeply committed to rebuilding the franchise.

Henry’s appearance made it clear that Red Sox ownership wants to rebuild fans’ trust in the team, and that will take time.

No one wants to hear about overpaid athletes underperforming, and having a group of big-league ballplayers who would rather play hunting video games is as bad as it can get.

There will have to be changes on the field, and the club will undoubtedly have to eat significant portions of players’ salaries if it is going to truly change the clubhouse dynamic.

Bringing back the same group will not sit well after the October allegations.

Then there are free-agent decisions.

Last week, David Ortiz threatened to go to the Yankees. His timing couldn’t have been worse.

Big Papi was not part of the clubhouse problem in September, but he didn’t appear to be part of the solution.

The team should expect more from its leaders.

For the DH to be this incredibly tone-deaf speaks to the disconnect between players and fans.

Tim Wakefield, who has worn the Red Sox uniform with distinction for 16 years, was equally off the mark when he said the fans deserve to see him back for another year as he tries to break the team’s all-time wins record.

The fans deserve to see the best team management can assemble. Nothing more.

It’s why they pay exorbitant prices.

They do not pay to watch individual milestones.

The captain, Jason Varitek, is also a free agent. It appeared he had taken well to his new, limited role this past season, but you have to wonder where his leadership was down the stretch.

If you’re wearing the “C” on your jersey, and the clubhouse is in disarray, you must step in and try to stop the problems.

Varitek apparently did not, and hearing that the pitching staff was the root of many of those problems only makes him look worse.

Jonathan Papelbon is at the end of his deal, and while his blown save in Baltimore ended the season, he has not been a problem on or off the field.

His return will hinge on what he thinks his market value is. Nothing more.

The World Series begins Wednesday night, and the Red Sox will be naming a new manager and GM soon.

Those two hirings will be the starting point in a rebuilding project that will take up most of the next three months.

Tom Caron is the studio host for Red Sox broadcasts on the New England Sports Network. His column appears in the Press Herald on Tuesdays.