Until, say, two weeks ago, the Red Sox were just another underperforming, overpaid team.
Then came a string of additional losses, some distinct lack of hustle on the field, a team meeting which had no positive effect and, finally, the Pablo Sandoval Fiasco.
Now the Red Sox aren't just underachieving - they're also hugely unlikable.
Now they're a punch-line, an honest-to-goodness laughing stock, inviting ridicule and scorn.
Sandoval's silly and ill-advised flirtation with social media in the middle of a game pulls back the curtain on the 2015 Red Sox and reveals dysfunction aplenty.
Not everyone is guilty, of course, but everyone is guilty by association. Sandoval by have been the instigator, but in the eyes of many, he's merely a symptom of a team wildly out of control.
That may not be fair to the likes of Dustin Pedroia and Xander Bogaerts and Koji Uehara, who have carried themselves as professionals both on and off the field.
But selfish acts like the one pulled by Sandoval cut through nuance and stains everyone in its path.
Less than 20 months ago, the 2013 champion Red Sox were the darlings of the city, not just for their improbable ride to the World Series, but also the way they came to represent a city and a region rebounding from the horrors of the Boston Marathon bombings.
The Sox and the city were one, bound by tragedy, recovering in unison, celebrating in tandem.
Now? Now, the team is being compared to the 2011-2012 edition, teams marked by selfishness and division. The 2011 edition not only fumbled away a playoff spot in the final month, but did so in almost indifferent fashion - as the "chicken and beer" episode demonstrated all too well.
The less said about the 2012 season, the better. Red Sox ownership brought in an incompetent manager, then seemed caught unaware when the team performed in his likeness, complete with player rebellions and failed coup attempts.
When the ugliness of 2011 revealed itself, it led to Terry Francona's dismissal after an otherwise stellar run that featured two titles and another appearance in the ALCS. Francona walked away, took a year off from the dugout and returned to manage in Cleveland, his reputation restored.
The task ahead for John Farrell seems more difficult. Not only must he attempt to direct the team back to respectability - contention would seem like too much to ask - but he also must do so with a group that includes a handful who have spent the last few weeks proving that they're not all that interested in respect.
Farrell himself shouldn't escape all of the blame, and though he wasn't part of the 2011 nightmare, having escaped to Toronto the previous year, he's unwittingly repeated Francona's mistake: assuming that his players care enough to behave like professionals without being babysat.
Worse, he'll have to perform this salvage job with Sandoval on the roster. With 4 1/2 seasons remaining and more than $80 million due him, Sandoval isn't going anywhere.
And neither, of course, are the Red Sox.