Tag Archives: Bobby V

Should the Red Sox Fire Bobby Valentine?

 

After dropping 3 out of 4 to one of the few AL teams decidedly out of the playoff picture in the Minnesota Twins, the Red Sox currently sit at 54-55 on the season. All year the home town nine have hovered around the .500 mark and still have not played as well as the roster would lead you to believe it could. And now with 53 games left in the season, and the Sox stuck 4.5 games out of the second wild card spot behind three other teams, the inevitable calling for the manager’s head has hit full speed.

Bobby Valentine was hired by the Red Sox a type of clubhouse enforcer who would hold players accountable and not let the inmates run the asylum as they did in the 2nd half last year. However, Valentine has not lived up to the hype, though it’s not particularly his fault. Beginning as early as Spring Training it was clear we were not getting the outspoken and opinionated manager many had heard on ESPN. Within the first couple of weeks Valentine backed off comments made on Sunday Night Baseball last year about Beckett’s pace of play and Crawford’s batting stance. Combine that with the most recent story of someone going behind his back to upper management about a comment aimed to pick up Will Middlebrooks after a tough inning in the field and we can all see that this was not the leadership Larry Lucchino was hoping for.

So should the Red Sox just go ahead and fire Bobby Valentine and begin to try and fix this team the way they should have after last season’s collapse? I will explore several points in favor of keeping Bobby V at the helm as well as why it’s best to just part ways right now.

Why they should fire Bobby V:

  • There is an outside chance that a change of manager could spark the team and maybe propel them closer to grabbing the second wild card spot. It is not an unprecedented event as Joe Morgan was appointed interim manager in a similar situation at the All-Star break in 1988. The team then won 12 straight and the AL East.
  • A lot of talk over the past ten months has revolved around the unity inside the Red Sox clubhouse and whether or not they are a team that actually fights for each other. There is a chance that Bobby is so disliked by the players that just removing him from the team could unite the players more than anything else.
  • As odd as it sounds, firing Valentine right now would actually gain favor towards the Red Sox ownership from the fans. All we have gotten from Henry, Lucchino, and Werner over the past few years are various sales pitches on stupid items like bricks, coffee table books and CDs. It would be a huge step forward for them to come out and admit to a mistake and finally put the focus back on winning baseball games.
  • If Tim Bogar (current bench coach) is someone the Red Sox are interested in seeing as a managerial candidate, this would be a great chance to see him in action. Letting Valentine go would allow Bogar to be appointed interim manager and give the team an extended interview for the open position come November. It is very unlikely that even if Bobby V makes it through the 2012 campaign that he would still be in charge come February, so why not see what you have in Bogar now and perhaps the team will take a shine to him.

 

Why they should keep Bobby V:

  • If the Red Sox do fire Valentine now, there would be the perception that the clubhouse wins and ultimately has more power than the manager. After last season had ended, Francona admitted himself that he has lost some players in the locker room and could not reach through to them for motivation. All season it has been clear that the players do not like Bobby and rarely (if ever) have come to his defense. Even upper management has stranded Valentine alone on an island at times. So by getting rid of Valentine, you give full power to the players to simply force out any manager they do not see fit going forward, which is a dangerous precedent to set.
  • Whenever a manager is fired in the second half of a season, it is can almost be seen as a waving of the white flag for that year. Although the Sox haven’t passed the “eye test” all season, the second wild card spot is not yet entirely out of reach. As I mentioned before, there are some cases where a managerial change could light a team for a stretch run, but that is a long shot and most of the time getting rid of the skipper signals the end of a team’s season.
  • Although Valentine has received a lot of the attention this season, he is still not the biggest problem this team has. Valentine should not get most of the blame for the performances of Lester and Beckett this year or Buccholz’s and Adrian Gonzalez’s first half. The team chemistry was already questionable coming into Spring Training with guys looking for the “snitches” about the fried chicken and beer story being leaked. Valentine is also not the reason for Carl Crawford’s and Andrew Bailey’s always ongoing injury sagas.

 

I personally believe it is best to just fire Valentine right now and see what you’ve got in Tim Bogar. Best case scenario is that the team surges a bit and makes a bid for the playoffs. Worst case they stay around .500 and begin the evaluation process in October. Either way, the Sox should clean house in the off-season and re-build the team’s coaching staff and try to find a way to part with Josh Beckett and maybe even John Lackey.

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Maybe That Works In Japan

Cute Little Riding Outfit Bro

Two years, that how long Bobby Valentines contract is and that is how long Bobby V will be warming John Farrell’s seat. Two years is a long time when 9 games into the season Bobby V has alienated Youk, Pedroia, Crawford, and Beckett. To name a few.

I honestly don’t mind how he manages games. Yesterdays issue with Bard, leaving him in too long in the sweltering heat was a bad move but in a 162 game season coaches make many mistakes, I can give him that especially if he owned up to it right after the game. Other than that I love how aggressive he has them on the base paths, I like the hit and run plays, I like the way he manages a game.

But his management of the players is atrocious. They billed him as this hard ass coming into town to clean up Tito’s mess, OK I guess they had to keep up that charade for a while but Bobby V let that get to his already massive head. Managing a Major League club, you’ve got to be able to deal with prima donnas that’s just how it is they have been babied their whole lives. Therefore, you can’t yourself be a freaking egotistical prima donna talking shit about half the team to the media. That’s not cool.

He first pissed me off in February, when he was trash talking the Yankees. OK dude, yeah we have arguably the biggest rivalry in sports with the Yankees but you don’t go picking fights with them before pitchers and catchers even report you friggen clown shoes. That was one of two things. It was either the owners saying “Red Sox Nation (a term I do not love) eats it up when you hate on the Yankees. You’ll have Boston in the palm of your hand if you start off on the right foot and make fun of a play in the playoffs that happened over 10 years ago.” Or it was Bobby V taking the initiative, all giddy that he’s finally back in the majors and not in Japanese baseball and was just talking out of his ass. Both scenarios are totally believable.

Then there’s the well documented feud between Beckett and Valentine, I won’t revisit that saga right now I’ll just wait for the next story to break because that feuds not over, they’re like the Hatfields and the McCoys right now. If you want to revisit it, Wolfie wrote about Beckett and the Limo ride not too long ago.

But now Bobby V goes and questions Youks heart of all things. Listen, even thought I made a quip that Youk was still on his honeymoon; I was joking. Bucky wrote about whether or not we should be worried about Youk, and I agree with him it’s too early in the season to get worked up when the guys in a slump. Hitters go through stretches when they can’t hit the ball at all, that’s one of the toughest parts of baseball that mental aspect. So when your manager goes and tells Channel 7 that he thinks Youks heart isn’t in it, what do you think that does to Youk mentally? It sure as hell won’t motivate him.

Well Pedroia gets it, and it’s good to know there’s players on the team that will step up and have their teammates back. Here’s some quotes courtesy of the Boston Herald.

“Maybe (that works) in Japan or something, but over here in the U.S. we’ve got a three-game winning streak and we want to feel good and keep it rolling.”

He then added, about Youks play and desire, “We’ve got Youk’s back. He’s played his ass off for us for a long time. Anytime he steps on the field, he’s a great player. We’re here to win and win with him.”

I get the argument that you don’t want players speaking out about your coach, some people are saying Pedroia’s out of line. Well here’s my opinion, he’s not. Not in the least. These guys are professional athletes this isn’t Little League, they’re adults. With that said, you don’t show up your players in Little League let alone the majors so cool it dude, they’re playing fine. The fact that Pedroia lashed out about the comments shows me he’s a team leader and a good spokesman for the team when Bobby V talks out his ass.

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Prohibition

It’s closing time in the Red Sox clubhouse, Bobby V brought the Volstead Act (Look it up) back into fashion banning alcohol in the clubhouse. There has been no mention of a fried chicken ban, which I think is worse for the pitchers than beer. I mean honestly, if you’re a starting pitcher you’re resting 3 or 4 days between starts so who cares if a guy drinks a beer on his night off. It’s not like Beckett’s operating heavy machinery on his off nights, he’s sitting there packing dip and watching baseball. The KFC and Popeye’s is not healthy though, a beer is simply carb loading for his next start but the greasy assed fried chicken is just not good for his stamina. If they were drinking light beer then all the better!

I agree with former skipper Tito Francona when he told Mike and Mike in the morning that this was just a PR stunt. Beer has been in baseball for a long time. Look at David Wells, guy was half-drunk and suffering from a “raging, skull-rattling hangover” when he pitched his perfect game for the Yankees. Another Yankee, Mikey Mantle was hung-over when he hit the cycle. Actually from what I hear Mickey Mantle was half drunk all the time and all drunk the rest and he was the best switch hitter in all of baseball.

Now if the Sox didn’t implode last year this would be a different story, it actually wouldn’t even be a story at all. The truth is, the brain trust at 4 Yawkey Way needed not just one scape goat for this collapse, they needed a few. So Tito was a pill addict all of a sudden and the rotation were booze bags. If they went on to win the World Series people would have said “oh man that’s awesome, they won the World Series AND they were drinking beers while doing it?!?! Damn that’s like Mad Men in baseball drinking on the job!”

Remember that Cowboy Up bullshit? Yeah Millar was a hero for introducing his buddy Jack Daniels to the team BEFORE the starters PLAYED against the Yankees. These were position players not starting pitchers, they went out in the field that day. And it was great in our eyes, they were just a bunch of regular guys that drink Jack like the rest of us. If they lost I guarantee that story would have surfaced and Millar’s fat ass would have been playing first base for the Chunichi Dragons in the Nippon Professional Baseball League and somehow Tito would be addicted to crack.

Well I back Beckett 110%, if he wants a beer the day after a start I think he should have one. Lackey still sucks but Lester and Beckett are OK in my book. So fight the power Josh, keep protesting with your graphic tee’s.

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