I hate Bobby Valentine.
I’ve written multiple columns (like this one or this one, for instance) about how much of a cheap, lying, no-good, rotten, overstuffed, ignorant, blood-sucking, brainless, hopeless, heartless, fat, bug-eyed, stiff-legged, spotty-lipped, worm-headed sack of monkey you-know-what he is, so you know this isn’t exactly a pro-Bobby V stance.
From the moment he stepped on the field in Spring Training, it was obvious that he was unfit to be the manger of the Boston Red Sox. Everything had to be about him. He needed to be the center of attention right from day one, best shown when he decided to tip his cap to the fans as they booed him in the middle of April while the team struggled to even win a game.
He couldn’t just walk back to the dugout. His Bobby V-ness wouldn’t let him. He had to put on a little performance, to steal the show. He had to feed the raging egomaniac that lives inside him and prevents him from doing anything that could even be misconstrued as selfless.
It’s those types of things that make him so unlikable. He’s standoffish in his weekly radio interview with Glenn Ordway and Michael Holley on WEEI, sounds broken during his pre-game interviews with Joe Castiglione and can’t seem to say anything genuine to anybody, whether it comes in an interview or a press conference. It’s as if he doesn’t understand how to simply have a normal conversation.
He’s been at the center of this recent Will Middlebrooks “Nice inning, kid” fiasco, he was at the center of the Carl Crawford “four-day plan” mess and he was at the center of everything involving Kevin Youkilis, before Youkilis was shipped out of town. There are coaches who go weeks without speaking to him, there are players who run upstairs to tell on him when he does something they don’t agree with and there is a negative perception of the Red Sox around the country that he has helped foster.
He sat in his office while ex-manager Terry Francona sat down in the middle of the locker room and held court with his former players and coaches like he was some sort of medieval king back to take over the village he had once ruled. Meanwhile, Bobby V did nothing to assert himself or give anyone any reason to take him seriously.
The team is 55-55, everything about the organization is a mess and Valentine has been a joke. That’s the best way to put it – Bobby Valentine is a joke. How else would you describe someone who never says a thing that isn’t – and shouldn’t – be taken at face value. How else can you quantify a man who has come in to Boston with high expectations and a fan base that wanted to like him, so long as the team performed up to par.
Instead, the man who was brought in to get the most of the the underachieving Sox has actually gotten less out of them than Francona did a year ago, and he’s the most unpopular guy to wear a Red Sox uniform since Manny Ramirez’s final days with the team. Even Josh Beckett – the poster boy for everything wrong with this team – isn’t as despised as Bobby Valentine currently is.
Everyone hates Bobby Valentine. It’s not too strong a word. In a region where baseball is king and the Red Sox are a way of life, the manager of the team has burned every bridge that he ever came close to building, and the damage is irreparable.
But right now, with 52 games left, what’s the point of firing him? You’re already not going to make the playoffs, and there is presumably going to be a shake-up of epic proportions in the offseason – coaches, players, management. So what exactly is to gain by giving Bobby V the boot in a season that’s already lost?
Here’s my thinking: leave it all alone. Let it continue to fail. Let this team finish 79-85 or however the heck it’s going to end up, and then get rid of the entire coaching staff. Top to bottom. Fire Bob McClure and Tim Bogar and Gary Tuck – the entitled bullpen coach who seems to think that the best way to help the team is by not speaking to the manager. Then, fire Bobby Valentine.
Let him think that there’s a chance he’ll be back for next season, with the opportunity to pick his own staff, then sweep the rug out from under him. Do to him what he has done to every single member of this team, organization and fanbase – lie.
And then get ready for the storm that’s going to ensue. Remember when the team fired Francona? They slung mud at him all the way out the door, and he diplomatically refused to do the same (for the most part). Well, when Bobby V gets shown the door, it’s going to make the Francona situation look like a children’s TV show.
Think about it. The team is going to do all it can to distance itself from the man who steered the ship right into an iceberg this whole season, and Valentine is going to want to save his legacy/potential to land another job by trying to clear his name as the responsible party for the 2012 disaster.
Bob Hohler is going to have so much to write for the Boston Globe that we’re going to get bored of reading it. We’ll hear about Bobby V parading prostitutes into the locker room as motivation or something. It’s going to be off the charts.
But guess what? Bobby Valentine deserves that. He deserves every last bit of criticism that he receives, and he doesn’t deserve the benefit of the doubt on anything. Nothing.
If anybody believes that Valentine is just a scapegoat for the rest of the franchise, it’s wrong. If anyone believes that Valentine was doomed for the start, it’s wrong. If anyone believes that ownership has “neutered him” that’s also wrong.
Those are all misconceptions. He’s not a scapegoat – he’s the reason they are in this mess. He has never connected to a single player from the day he was on the team. People have a strange way of remembering history. All you hear now is that no one ever gave Valentine a chance, and we were all hoping he would fail.
That sounds like something Valentine would say – which is how you know it’s bull. People were excited when Valentine was hired because he was supposed to be the anti-Francona. He could change what happened last September because he would have a different style, a different attitude.
Instead, he allowed himself to fall completely out of touch with everything. If management wants to undermine him like they did with the Youkilis situation, so what? Talk back. Nope. He backed down, apologized to Youkilis and lost any chance at commanding respect.
He had nothing to lose by fighting back. If he wanted to take a jab at Larry Lucchino or Ben Cherington or John Henry – or even Dustin Pedroia – so what? What are they going to do? They weren’t going to fire him in May, and he’s only on a two-year contract. Nobody else had any leverage, yet Valentine refused to use the advantageous position he was in to take command. Instead, he wilted, and the team wilted with him.
If you want to point fingers as to why the Red Sox are where they are, you only need to extend one finger. Bobby Valentine is the culprit in this entire twisted saga. Sure, there are other factors. But the big one – the person who could have fixed it – dropped he ball.
And he has ruined baseball in 2012 around New England.