Bobby V the un-deserving scapegoat in Bo-Sox disaster

As everyone knows, [and in case you didn’t, you knew it was coming] Bobby Valentine is no longer the Red Sox manager. The team dismissed the 62-year old skipper after just one year at the helm, not even 24 hours after the Red Sox’ 93rd loss in their final game of the season.

From what the players and fans have said throughout this traumatic year for the Sox, you’d think Valentine’s firing was a huge step in moving forward and rebuilding a seemingly reborn franchise. Following 86 years of losing that ended in 2004, the Red Sox have won more World Series (2) than any team this century, and have appeared in the playoffs a total of 6 of the last 10 Octobers.

No, a dynasty to challenge their rival Yankees never happened, but right now, Boston has had the upper-hand in the first twelve years of the century where it counts most – the World Series.

Yet here we are, for the second straight year discussing the dismissal of the Red Sox manager and the dis-array the team lies in. Last time, it was well-respected and celebrated Terry Francona after a historic September collapse, that still left the Bo-Sox with a 90-72 record in 2011. Now, in 2012 it’s Bobby V, who miraculously survived all 162 games after the Red Sox’ worst season since he was fifteen – in 1965.

As the final result shows, Bobby V and the Red Sox fell well short of a “perfect match”, as some had predicted when he was hired by new GM Ben Cherington not even a calendar year ago. Tears streamed down his face as he first buttoned up the Red Sox jersey over his suit the day he was introduced to the Boston media.

Valentine was supposed to represent a change in the attitude of the defeated and disrespectful bunch of goons Fenway Park’s cramped dugout housed. People knew Bobby V was not a player’s manager, but at the same time was not as big a dictator as some perceived. So as spring training beckoned, it was hard to say that Boston couldn’t rebound this year and make the playoffs under the rule of Mr. Valentine.

Then came something so shocking to the Red Sox, that they immediately crumbled in Florida before they even played a game home in Boston – discipline.

I’m not trying to disrespect what Terry Francona did in his seven years as Red Sox skipper, but clearly he kept a very long leash on all of his players. Maybe it was because of how long he knew them, but then again, maybe that’s just who he is as a manager.

Bobby Valentine immediately tried to send a message that playtime was over and that it was time to start working hard towards returning to the playoffs. Yet amazingly, the Red Sox players completely tuned him out. Was he doing anything wrong? No. He was simply trying to assert himself and the changes that would happen under him, like every new manager should do.

But the players were so conceded and so used to being pampered by Francona for all those years that they just said “no”, and “that’s not how we do things” to nearly everything Bobby V brought to the table. Imagine a group of middle school children and how they act when a substitute teacher is in for the day. Now imagine a few of them with goatees, beards, and fried chicken. And viola! You have the 2012 Boston Red Sox.

The worst part of it all is somehow, someway, the Boston media too were in favor of the players and twisted Bobby Valentine’s actions into evil plots to make the players’ lives hell. If Mike Aviles did not cover his position properly, let it slide. If Kevin Youkilis is struggling, let it slide. If Dustin Pedroia hates you, let it slide.

Valentine didn’t let things slide, rightfully like a skipper should, and somehow he ended up being (to fans) the source of the Red Sox’ problems throughout the 2012 campaign.

Look here – the definition of a baseball manager is “someone in charge of training a team”. Spot the key phrase? In charge. That’s not what a baseball player is, and yet, that’s how the Red Sox carried themselves. They were the managers, and Valentine was the managed.

30 years ago, this would not have happened. Managers were specifically brought in because of spitefulness or disciplinary reasons, in an effort to focus the team more on winning than anything else that came with playing professional baseball. Now a days, it seems that a manager needs to “relate to the players” and needs to be lenient with them in order to be a good coach. And that is simply false. Had Bobby Valentine managed in the 60’s or 70’s, I’m sure he would have found more success and fame except for just one N.L. Wild Card and Pennant with the Mets in 2000.

Simply put – Bobby V is your classic old-school manager who the Red Sox dis-respected and mis-treated horribly. They didn’t want to accept change and didn’t want to man up to their childish actions, and therefore it showed on the field. With the team that was assembled this year, not many other managers could have done a significantly better job.

So before you go out and hang this embarrassment of a season for Boston on Bobby Valentine’s shoulders, it was the players themselves who started and deliberately continued a dramatic string of events that unjustly cost a great baseball mind another shot at managing.

May the Curse of Bobby V begin…and never end.

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About Brian D.

A passionate 15-year old Yankees fan who has hopes of becoming an MLB journalist or broadcaster. He brings an optimistic, yet realistic take on the Yanks to Yankees Fans Unite, and essentially lives and breathes baseball.

Posted on October 7, 2012, in Personal Opinion and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. I actually agree with this and it should be said more. The Red Sox players were a bunch of whiny babies who were coddled by Francona and revolted as soon as they brought in somebody who would challenge them like they should have.

    • the majority of today’s atheletes are babies. They get all they want growing up because the excel at sports. Not many of them “get it”

      • Yeah, very true. Sorry if this post was a bit out of taste, since everything right now should be focused on the Yankees. But I had this post written the night he was fired and I wanted to get my thoughts out there.

        • Brian, I agree with everything that you said here. This has to be one of the most spot on articles that’s not about the Yankees that I’ve read. Valentine wasn’t a bad manager, but he didn’t get the respect from his players (except for Pedroia which came at the very end). Then again, he shouldn’t have made comments about players because it it takes giving respect to receive respect. Well done. :)

          • Thanks, haha. And yeah, I really feel the Red Sox players should be blamed more than Bobby V. Maybe he takes Toronto’s job after Boston gets Farrell, and then he can stick it to the Bo-Sox. A great manager than was misunderstood in Boston.

    • The Red Sox were filled with Prima Donnas – Beckett,lackey, Gonzalez, Aceves……a bunch of a-holes. But Bobby V was not the right man…..he can be as big of an a-hole as they were. Criticizing your players in the press should NEVER be done especially when you are new and trying to stabilize the team.

      • Not when you’re new, I agree. But Red Sox players need to own up to what they’re doing wrong and not blame it on excuses, so Bobby V simply tried to send a message by talking about his players in the media. More skippers should do it. How many times did we hear Girardi say, “Well you know Jonesy had some good at-bats tonight, but just couldn’t find his swing” or whatever. If I was Joe, I’d say, “Andruw simply isn’t swinging the bat well and we’ll look to alternatives for the next couple of games before he proves he can be back in the lineup.”

        Nothing harsh, just honesty. Something sports are missing in the current times.

        • Ha ha Brian….you’d last less than a season with that approach.

          A manager can send a message to a player by simply calling him into his office and talking it out. Once he goes to the media and says something like “he’s lost his passion” you are showing up the player and it’s very unprofessional.

  2. If the Yankees weren’t so arrogant the Sox run never would have happened. Poor team management on the Yankees end allowed those 2 WS wins.

  3. I HEARD THE redsox are gonna sell the team, that why trhey are getting rid of everyone, to make the team more liquid on the cash side

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