August 17, 2012
Nothing is going right for the Boston Red Sox in 2012. Since Bobby Valentine took over as manager before the season, it has become nothing short of a disaster in Boston. The off the field issues have caused the underachieving Red Sox to fall 6.5 games back in the AL Wild Card and 12.5 games back in the AL East. Valentine’s team is 58-61 with 43 games to go. If the unexpected sub .500 record is not enough, players are calling out their manager, their manager is calling out players, and things seem to be falling apart in Beantown.
There have been reports that several players met with owner John Henry on an off day near the end of July blasting Valentine. The meeting came as a result of a text message sent from Adrian Gonzalez to ownership on behalf of many of his teammates. The incident that forced Gonzalez to send the text message to ownership came after Valentine left Jon Lester in to allow 11 runs on 11 hits including four home runs in four innings on July 22. Clearly, Lester did not have his best stuff and Valentine kept him out there to get shelled even though the bullpen was not used very much in the prior days. The players found it to be very disrespectful to embarrass the veteran Lester by leaving him in that long.
Another controversy came earlier in the season when Valentine criticized former Red Sox third baseman Kevin Youkilis questioning his focus and dedication. Pedroia defended Youkilis saying that calling out team members is not how the Red Sox operate. If that was not enough, the Yahoo! report also said that there is a text-message picture of Valentine asleep face-down on his desk with Pedroia behind him with his thumbs up. The caption reads “Our manager contemplating his lineup at 3:30 p.m.” It has become a joke to a lot of the players. The professionalism is completely lost in this clubhouse. A day after the players met with ownership, Francona, now an ESPN analyst, sat in the clubhouse, and chatted with several players for nearly an hour, including Pedroia. It is never a good sign where things are going so bad that a former manager is forced to come in and try and ease the tension in the clubhouse.
Gonzalez and Dustin Pedroia have been reported as the most vocal players bashing Valentine. Bobby V, who managed the Mets to a World Series in 2000, has been out of the Major Leagues since 2002. Looked at as an icon when managing in Japan, “icon” is nowhere near the word that would describe his 2012 season managing Boston. He was not labeled as a popular choice by many. Players were very loyal to Terry Francona, who the Red Sox chose to not bring back after their 2011 collapse.
It is mayhem in Boston right now. Valentine has lost complete control of his clubhouse. The Red Sox have fallen in shambles and this also hurts the team’s chances to bring in players in 2013. While injuries and underachieving players have definitely been a major cause for the Red Sox losing this season, the clubhouse has ultimately led to the poor play. If the team had a manager that had some faith in them, we might see the players performing the way they are capable of. It seems everyday there is a new storyline in this never ending saga.
The Red Sox have a big weekend series against the rival Yankees at Yankee Stadium this weekend. With 43 games to play, Valentine’s crew cannot give up just yet. 6.5 games back is a comeback that can be made. Just ask the 2011 Red Sox team that blew a nine game lead in September going 7-19 down the stretch forcing them out of the playoffs. In what has been an extremely disappointing season thus far, don’t count the Sox out of it just yet. David Ortiz is on his way back from injury hoping to return within the coming week. If the team does not make a late season rally, it will be the third straight year Fenway Park will be empty in October. While the future direction of the Red Sox is not known, there is one thing that we do know. Bobby Valentine will not be managing the Boston Red Sox in 2013.