New York - I’ve seen my share of dejected, beaten down managers throughout the years after some losses but none like looked like Bobby Valentine, appearing with a look of clear defeat as he sat down behind the desk inside the manager’s office after the season-ending loss at Yankee Stadium late Wednesday night.
Prior to the game CBSSports.com had already reported that the Red Sox would be firing him after the conclusion of his first year in Boston, the worst season for the Red Sox since 1965.
The Red Sox decided to part ways after a tumultuous season, following one of the worst collapses in baseball history and the dismissal of Terry Francona.
Valentine had already accepted his fate after the game had ended when a reporter asked him about his job security. “John, my life will be fine,” he retorted.
From the beginning it just seemed like if he was walking into a shipwreck.
Valentine could have been dealt a better hand from the front office. Injuries surely didn’t help but the starting pitching staff was in shambles, the bullpen was a mess as the Daniel Bard-closing experiment did not work and the lineup was not producing the way it was expected to.
It was always rumored that general manager Ben Cherrington wasn’t too enamored with the decision to hire Valentine.
Last week when Cherrington was asked on WEEI about what his approach would be on finding a new manager if it was deemed necessary, the general manager’s comments basically open the doors to Valentine’s exit.
“What we know we need to do is hit the ground running this offseason. One of the things as I look back on last offseason that didn’t go perfectly was simply the amount of time that we spent on the manager search and what that did to the rest of the offseason. I would like to spend less time on it this offseason, that’s for sure,” he said.
There was even a text message sent voicing the displeasure of group of upset players asking for the removal of Valentine. Three sources confirmed to Yahoo Sports that owners met with players on the team’s off-day in New York on July 26 after Adrian Gonzalez sent a text to air out the club’s displeasure after Jon Lester was roughed up during his July 22 start.
Valentine set himself up as well for a long season in Boston when he agreed to a weekly radio show on enemy turf with a radio station in New York. Red Sox Nation wasn’t feeling that too much.
Earlier today I read a report on ESPN.com that he had berated shortstop Mike Aviles during spring training while the team was working on cutoff plays. What’s crazy about it is that the players did not even know “where to go in the new cutoff alignment.”
Valentine added fuel to the fire through his feud with fan favorite Kevin Youkilis. He said he thought that Youkilis was not “as physically or emotionally into the game” back in April. Youk’s teammates came to his aid but by late June he was out the door, traded to the Chicago White Sox. Later Valentine admitted that he was wrong for airing Youkilis out.
The skipper and reliever Alfredo Aceves had their run-ins. After a win at Fenway Park, Aceves stormed out of Valentine’s office, upset because he was not called upon to close out a game back on August 25.
That assignment had gone to Andrew Bailey. The closer was acquired from Oakland for Josh Reddick but missed most of his first season in Boston due to a thumb injury. Valentine would later admit he should have told Aceves of the move. Aceves would try to avoid as much contact as he could with his manager.
In September he threatened to punch a WEEI talk-show host in the mouth after the host asked Valentine about arriving later than usual to a game in Oakland, referring to a story in a newspaper. Although Valentine said he was joking after making the comment to the host, it was clearly no way to act.
Hours before he would manage his last game in a Red Sox uniform, Valentine told WEEI in his last weekly radio interview that he thought some coaches had undermined him at various points in the season.
Valentine made have had his faults but there were just many things that didn’t go the Red Sox’s way for ownership to decide that it was time for Bobby V to go.
I think another season, with better cards on the table, Valentine would have surely done a better job and gotten more out of his roster but management was going to have to get creative in bringing in the right pieces so that Valentine could succeed.
Both sides are wrong and should have given it another go.
Valentine’s original plan for today was to go out for a stroll on his bike out in Boston.
It could be one of his longest bike rides as he’s certainly thinking about what he could have done right in a season with so many wrong twists.