And here I thought Bobby V would make such an indelible impression in Boston. His attention to detail has been well-chronicled, and he seemed to be the type of manager who would whip the Red Sox players into shape. He was thought to be the anti-Terry Francona, if you will. If that’s not a good enough selling point, the Valentine won with the New York Mets for crying out loud!
But as we all have learned at least a few times in life, just because things are suppose to turn out a certain way doesn’t necessarily mean they will. The Valentine-Red Sox marriage was a disaster from Day 1. Valentine’s abrasiveness with the media reared it’s ugly head during spring training. He chafed with and poorly communicated with players to the point of a near mutiny occurring during the middle of the season.
And it wasn’t all Bobby V’s fault. After all, he had to sustain a rash of injuries to his roster – 56 different players were used this season! In a sense, Valentine managed behind the eight-ball all season long.
I also lay blame at the feet of management – namely team president Larry Lucchino. Lucchino was the guy who wanted Valentine in the first place, in fact so bad that he overruled general manager Ben Cherington’s original choice John Farrell, who manages the Toronto Blue Jays (and maybe not for long). And keep in mind this was the same Lucchino who ran off former GM Theo Epstein and ran Francona under the bus after he was fired. So suffice it to say, Lucchino had all this bad fortune coming for a long time. Memo to Lucchino: let your GM do his job, and you do yours’ by keeping your ass behind the scenes.
Having said all that, I am not using ANY of that to give Valentine a pass. He communicated poorly with players. He alienated a respected clubhouse leader in Kevin Youkilis. His condescending style did not sit well with the fans and media.
Simply put, he did a poor job.
Last year I wrote that I thought Bobby Valentine was the right guy to manage the Boston Red Sox after the club parted ways with Terry Francona.
Boy, was I wrong.
The Red Sox currently sit 12 1/2 games behind the AL East leading New York Yankees. The Red Sox are also three games below .500 to boot. Simply put, Boston is a (plucking) mess.
While the players are not performing up to snuff – Josh Beckett is underachieving, David Ortiz bitching about his contract, and Carl Crawford is so bad he should donate his contract to charity – most of the blame lies at the feet of Valentine. Why does Valentine deserve the lion share of the blame, you ask?
Valentine has seemly gone out of his way to alienate every player in that clubhouse. First he created a silly feud with Kevin Youkilis – only the heart and soul of the Red Sox the last few seasons before he was traded to the Chicago White Sox. Valentine later got on the wrong side of Dustin Pedroia, one of the most beloved players in the clubhouse.
He also manage to piss off Adrian Gonzalez, who is as mild-mannered as it gets. In fact, Gonzo was pissed off to the point where he and Pedroia allegedly led a group of players to speak to management in order to get Valentine fired. That’s right, the players led a mutiny against the manager.
And what does Valentine has to show for it? A 59-62 record and a team that is going nowhere fast.
I believe Red Sox ownership when it says it supports Valentine and will not break him off anytime soon. He won’t get fired this year because it sends the message that the inmates are running the asylum. However, if ownership wants to turn the team back in the right direction, the first thing it needs to do is fire Valentine in the offseason.
It’s obvious that Valentine was the wrong dude for this team. It takes a big person to admit he/she is wrong. I was VERY wrong about Valentine. It’s time for Red Sox management to do the same before it is too late…