I’ve been saying one thing about the new-look Boston Red Sox all offseason. I’ve been saying it off-the-record, but it’s time for me to say it to all of you.
The Boston Red Sox will never win a World Series as long as Bobby Valentine is calling the shots.
Valentine had some very, very good teams while he managed the New York Mets in the late-1990s. They only played in the World Series one time — in 2000 — when they were thoroughly dominated by the New York Yankees.
After several years coaching in Japan and a stint with ESPN, the Red Sox decided to take a chance on Valentine after they ran Terry Francona out of town (a guy who won two championships for the franchise, and a guy who definitely wasn’t the problem last season). Needless to say, this experiment hasn’t started well.
It might not be as bad as the Ozzie Guillen situation in Miami, but then again, it might actually be worse, because Valentine’s problems have divided the clubhouse.
I don’t think he’s as physically or emotionally into the game as he has been in the past for some reason. But [on Saturday] it seemed, you know, he’s seeing the ball well, got those two walks, got his on-base percentage up higher than his batting average, which is always a good thing, and he’ll move on from there.
That was Valentine, talking about his third baseman, Kevin Youkilis. For nearly a decade, Youkilis has been widely known as one of the hardest-working, old-school baseball players in the Red Sox clubhouse. He has the respect of everyone who plays with and against him — he’s just that kind of guy.
Now, Valentine’s calling him out. For effort, of all things.
Here’s another problem: I hate to break it to Boston fans, but your team isn’t very good. David Ortiz isn’t going to bat .444 all season, and the pitching staff is shaky. Closer Jonathan Papelbon is in Philadelphia, and the coach who could make the most out of this little is not in the dugout anymore.
He’s in an ESPN booth, calling baseball games.
Youkilis’ teammates quickly jumped to his side of the controversy, which doesn’t bode well for Valentine.
Pedroia: ‘I really don’t know what Bobby is trying to do but that’s not the way we go aboutour stuff around here’
— Rob Bradford (@bradfo) April 16, 2012
Pedroia adds that no one works harder than Youkilis, and that, “we have each other’s backs in here.”
— John Tomase (@jtomase) April 16, 2012
Looking at the roster before the season started (and noting the meltdown that occurred last September), I thought there was a possibility the Red Sox would finish fourth in their own division, behind the Yankees, Rays and Blue Jays.
Now, I believe it.
Youkilis: Kid thrown into the pool; Valentine: Fat kid