August 20, 2012
Out of Left Field
Bobby Valentine's Communications Problem
It’s no secret that there have been some problems with the Red Sox recently. Or, if it is a secret, whoops. Sorry. Cat’s out of the bag. So now you know if you didn’t already. There are issues in Red Sox land. Some have regarded those issues as holdovers from last season when things turned bad like cheese left out during a month long vacay to Maui. To others, the peculiar peccadilloes of this particular… uh, season, can be traced back to once single source: manager Bobby Valentine.
Valentine took over the team from Terry Francona, who was adept at handing the personal interaction side of managing in Boston. He was good with the players, he was good with the press. But those strengths belied a laissez faire attitude that permeated the Red Sox clubhouse, an attitude that some say led to the team’s downfall last September. That and also some incredibly awful baseball.
Bobby Valentine was hired to put a professional face on things, to be more a Manager (capital “M”) and less a friend. Because being friendly with players is a huge, huge problem and don’t ask why because duh you totally know.
Much was known about Valentine when he was hired. That he managed the Mets, that he managed a team in Texas before they moved to Washington, D.C. – bet you didn’t even know Texas ever had a team! – and that he spent significant time in Japan playing a sport similar to baseball while drinking beer named after himself.
But even back during Valentine’s interview with Red Sox GM Ben Cherington, there were hints that communication might be an issue.
Ben Cherington: Welcome to Boston, Mr. Valentine. Have a seat.