Saturday, September 8, 2012

You’ve got to wonder about Bobby Valentine

I was listening to Jerry and Alan broadcasting the Jays game from a soggy Fenway Park last night, and the way ground balls were playing dead on the outfield and even the infield, you had to believe it was mighty wet. Because of the lengthy rain delay, I imagine, our two intrepid broadcasters were more expansive than usual with the inevitable sidebars to the action on the field.

One of the hot topics was the manager of the Bostons, Bobby Valentine.

On his weekly interview on WEEI this week, Valentine was asked by one of the show’s host, Glenn Ordway, if, as has been accused by many, whether Valentine had “checked out” on the season. Valentine’s response was: “What an embarrassing thing to say. If I were there right now, I'd punch you right in the mouth. Ha, ha. How's that sound? Is that like I checked out? What an embarrassing thing. Why would somebody even, that's stuff that a comic strip person would write. If someone's here, watching me go out at 2 o’clock in the afternoon, watching me put in the right relief pitchers to get a win, putting on a hit-and-run when it was necessary, talking to the guys after the game in the food room — how could someone in real life say that?”

Another question about being late to the ballpark the previous week brought an even angrier response: “I shouldn't have to explain that. That pisses me off. Whoever wrote that knew what happened. They knew that my son was coming to see me for the first time in this lousy season and that I got to see him on the road, and that his flight was late, and that I was waiting at the airport in San Francisco for his flight  to come in, and that I sent the lineup in and reported to my coaches that I was going to be a little late,” said Valentine. “For someone to say that I was late is an absolute disgrace to their integrity if they have any.”

Okay, Boston has had a ridiculous run of bad luck this year with a revolving door to the DL (most in either league) and they started off with a lot of suspect characters on the team. Times are certainly tough this year in Fenway Park. But this guy claims he wants to continue managing the Sox and he’s talking like this to the hosts of his weekly radio interview? What gives?

I think it’s a pretty open secret that Valentine is rather arrogant. There have been rumors of major discontent on the team due to his managerial style. That’s not news if one remembers his previous two stops on the MLB managerial road (Mets and Rangers). He embarrasses players on purpose, he does not handle the press well, and what he thinks is his hard-nosed approach to the game is quite simply divisive. As rumor has it a large part of the Bostons no longer want to play for Valentine, and that includes some of the team’s biggest stars.

Yes, the Bosox admittedly did already have a problematic clubhouse, and maybe it was thought by ownership that bringing in a no-nonsense manager like Valentine would get the club to straighten up and fly right. But Valentine himself has always been problematic on the teams that he previously managed to the point where he was forced to spend a decade in Japan in virtual exile from MLB. He’s supposed to be a master baseball strategist, but where’s the strategy in his divide-and-conquer style of handling his players? What’s the good of alienating a large part of your team when it really serves no strategic purpose? The Bosox are proving that daily out on the field. The good ship Boston currently seems rudderless with Captain Bligh at the helm.

Then again, maybe Boston’s management and owners have seen the light after the interview quoted above. It wouldn’t surprise me if Bobby Valentine is gone before the season ends. Maybe it will come at the hands of the visiting Jays if they sweep the Beantowners again this weekend.


Will Braund said...

I would bet a few bucks that Valentine will be gone, but probably not until the end of the season. I totally agree with you about the unnecessarily rude and petulant way he talks to the press and his pre-modern era way of handling players. Of course Yankee fans can only delight in Boston's woes and hope that he will be back next year.

Rick Blechta said...

Just so Boston doesn't get John Ferrell!