Monday, September 3, 2012
BOBBY VALENTINE EXPERIMENT IS OVER
The Bobby Valentine experiment was an unmitigated natural disaster. FEMA wouldn't
want any part of cleaning up the aftermath.The players hated him, he hated the players,
and the fans hated all of them. The Red Sox suffered through one of the most painful
seasons in franchise history, and this organization sure knows pain.
The I'm-smarter-than-you owners of the Red Sox will soon pull the plug on their grand
experiment. They have known for a long time that this is not working. They've endorsed
Valentine in the past, but soon they'll be sending him to the guillotine. They'll probably smear Valentine's reputation on the way out much like they did Terry Francona nearly a year ago.
There will be leaks about V's mental state and his lack of preparedness, even though he's
often given the impression he invented baseball, not to mention the sandwich wrap.
The Red Sox/Bobby Valentine marriage was one of the worst in the history of sports. Like the
Julia Roberts-Lyle Lovett union, this one had absolutely no chance of succeeding. None.
Everybody looked at Julia Roberts and said, "What the hell you were you thinking." Same
thing happened when the Red Sox hired Valentine. It failed miserably and like the
Roberts/Lovett partnership, the divorce will happen quickly. The Three Kings of the Red
Sox, John Henry, Larry Lucchino, and Tom Werner, should be called the Three Blind Mice
for failing to see that Bobby Valentine was the wrong choice all along.
There was a reason he had been out of the game for nearly 10 years. There was a reason
that nearly every player who played for him, despised him. There was a reason he had
never won a division title in his 15 years of managing despite having an abundance of
talent on his roster. And yes, there was a reason people in the game called him,
The owners were blind to the reasons Bobby V shouldn't have been hired. Instead, they
went for the manager with the big name, a skipper who could keep them on the back
pages and drive the television ratings up. And oh, yeah, they wanted someone who
could change the culture of the clubhouse and use an iron fist when it came to disciplining
those beer-drinking, chicken wing eating sloths. Somehow they forgot about the "culture"
of the New York Mets clubhouse during the 1999 NLCS against the Atlanta Braves.
Bobby Bonilla and Rickey Henderson, were back in the clubhouse playing cards during
the late-innings of the game. Bobby V once said the clubhouse is "not mine". Clearly.
And in Boston, it never was.
In defense of Bobby V, he never really had a chance in Boston. Management said he couldn't
bring in his own coaching staff. Yeah, they waste hundreds of millions of dollars on Carl
Crawford, John Lackey, etc, but they won't buyout the contracts of the coaches who were
hired by Francona and let Valentine pick his own guys? That was their first mistake. Those
coaches were loyal to Francona and insubordinate to Valentine.
The Red Sox had a ton of injuries, nobody can dispute that. More than 26 players were on
the disabled list during the course of the year. I don't care who the manager is, when you
have an attrition rate like that, it's tough to sustain success.
The players hated Valentine from the outset. When V was hired last December, the cry
throughout the organization was, "Anybody but Bobby V." It was their worst nightmare.
To the players, Bobby V was a "me" guy. A manager who loved the camera and had to
be the story. That doesn't work with today's "Look at me" players. There are only so many
cameras to go around and they don't want a manager getting more attention than they
The players were never behind Valentine, especially after he threw Kevin Youkilis under
the bus back in April. That was Valentine's first big mistake and the players didn't let him
forget it. Dustin Pedroia told the media, "That's not the way we do things around here. Bobby
will learn that." That was the poison pill that made the players despise Bobby V. even more
Adrian Gonzalez texted ownership calling for a meeting to diss and dump their manager.
It doesn't get any more cowardly than that. Yeah, have a meeting, stab the manager in the
back while he's not around to defend himself. Petty, cowardly, insubordinate, yep, that pretty
much sums up the Red Sox this year.
Bobby Valentine, like him or hate, is a baseball lifer. He's been in the game since signing
with the Los Angeles Dodgers as an 18-year old kid. He's played, coached, managed, been
an analyst for ESPN, and a lightening rod in Boston. It's kind of sad how he's lost interest
in the game as he realizes his time with the Red Sox is nearing an end. Valentine won't say it,
but this has been the most painful 10 months of his baseball life.
I get the feeling that Bobby Valentine can't wait for the Red Sox to put him out of his misery.