The Boston Red Sox did it. They became the first team to crack the code.
Adrian Gonzalez, Dustin Pedroia, and probably a few others took a sledge
hammer and shattered the saying, "There is no crying in baseball." With
diapers secure and cell phone in hand, a text message was sent to the ownership
group demanding a meeting to discuss the toxic lightning rod that is manager
Valentine has not pitched a ball, booted one, or dribbled one into an inning-ending
double play. He has not walked a batter, given up a walk-off home run, but has
always walked to the beat of a different drummer, and that appears to be rubbing
millionaire ballplayers wearing a Red Sox uniform, the wrong way. They didn't
like the way Valentine criticized Kevin Youkilis through the media and many
weren't happy when V left Jon Lester on the mound to simmer after giving up
four home runs in a game against Toronto recently.
According to Yahoo Sports, the players told ownership during a meeting in New
York City that they didn't want to play for Valentine anymore. They may not have
said the same thing last September about Terry Francona, but the players sure as
heck laid down on Terry Francona, costing him his job and leading to the reality
show that is the Bobby V and the Red Sox.
After watching Francona become an ex-manager, Lester, who had drawn on the
strength and support of Francona during his bout with cancer, said that it was perhaps,
"time for a new voice for the team to listen to." Funny how things change. Now, all
those players who turned their backs on Francona have gone behind the back of
Valentine to try and get him fired.
With Valentine's history of being like sandpaper with his players, a lot of people
saw this coming and are hardly surprised. When Bobby V was named manager
of the Red Sox last December, a lot of players were not only shocked, but sour.
Many were thinking, "Anybody but Bobby V." Valentine has a reputation as someone
with a great baseball mind, but also someone who is all about Bobby V.
In this day and age of pampered and coddled millionaire dollar players, this represented
a bad mix. Players don't like to see a manager who tries to be bigger than the players
or the game itself. They will tune them out, and in the case of a few players on the
Red Sox, they will cry to management.
Players make a ton of money to play a kid's game. They travel first class and stay
in four-star hotels. No matter what the business or company, there are millions of
people who don't like their bosses or are dissatisfied by what they say, wear, and
the amount of the checks they desposit in their bank accounts. It happens. But most
deal with it.
The Red Sox dealt with it by having a "players only" meeting with ownership. How
brave. They get the floor to rip their manager behind his back. They get to talk tough
without him being in the room to defend himself. If I was part of that ownership group,
I would have said, "Hold on just a minute. I'm getting Bobby V and he's going to hear
what you have to say." I'm sure all those "brave" players would have changed their tune
with him in there to look straight into their eyes.
I applaud the ownership group for not giving into the players and their wish to have
Valentine fired. At the same time, I just wish they said what should have been said,
"We are paying you an obscene amount of money. We give you the best of everything.
We try to do everything we can to make you comfortable and do your job. But it's
time to shut up and play. Bobby Valentine doesn't hit, pitch, or throw the ball for you.
It's on you. If you strike out, it's on you, not Bobby V. If you give up a home run,
it's not because of him. He doesn't have a 5.67 ERA. He's not hitting .179 with runners
in scoring position. Just shut the hell up, quit complaining, and do your job. And if
you want to talk to ownership, don't text like a high school girl, be a man and call us
by phone, and be sure to invite Bobby Valentine so he has a chance to see that knife
you're trying to stab him in the back with."