After last September's collapse and subsequent media horror show I've tried my hardest to ignore the Red Sox. This is pretty hard to do when baseball is your favorite sport and the Sox are your team. But regardless, I submerged myself in football, basketball and hockey after September because well... the Red Sox organization makes the NY Jets locker room look like a ladies tea party.
I'm not the first to say that I'm embarrassed by my own team. I won't be the last either. As a fan you don't expect much out of the team you pledge loyalty to other than a consistent effort to win. Last year was consistently inconsistent. I don't think the inconsistency can easily be solely attributed to laziness, a feeling of entitlement, or lack of heart. This team had no clear leader. I love Terry as much as the next guy, but when you lose the respect of the players on your team you lose your team. He lost control and fell into the trap of letting the inmates run the asylum. He's gone and he's not coming back. Repeat that. He's gone and he's not coming back.
Enter Bobby Valentine.
In my opinion, the hiring of Valentine was a very calculated move by the front office. He's a guy who likes the cameras, he's a guy who calls players out and he was the only guy with the sheer arrogance to think he could actually "fix" this team. Immediately he's a media target and every move he makes will be questioned, cross-examined and over-analyzed. Boston sports media is a feral dog and Bobby is their new chew toy. Are the memories of chicken and beer fading yet? That's exactly what Lucchino and Henry wanted in Valentine. A distraction. A punching bag. A new shiny toy for the fans to bat at. And it's working.
Now just like everyone else I've been pretty skeptical of Valentine, but my ice cold heart is beginning to warm to him. So he ran his mouth to the media about Youkilis... surprised? No. That's Bobby's thing. He calls guys out. We knew this. Is there any other team in the MLB right now that needs calling out more than the Red Sox? Nope. Now this may ruffle the muddy chicken's feathers because according to him, "That's not how we do things here." Well, suck it up buttercup because you're not in charge. Coaches run the team, or in our case meddling owners and computers, but still definitely not players. And as well they shouldn't. After last year I was of the mind to hire an R. Lee Ermey type to shape these maggots into men, but hey... I'm not in charge. Warming to Valentine or not, I can agree he's made mistakes. My idea of his mistakes may differ from others though.
I think his only mistake of this season so far has been apologizing for his criticism of the players. He started out apologizing to Beckett for comments he made in his analyst days. Why? I'm sure the comments were valid and likely accurate. Undermining yourself is not the best way to start taking charge. Now questioning Youkilis' commitment to the media rather than the man was not the smartest move, but let's be honest. We all watch the games. We all can see that Youkilis has slowed down and his bat is lukewarm. It's too early in the season to judge accurately, but did Valentine say anything new? Nope. He just said it to the wrong people. Taking it back and apologizing for it however, was the mistake. If you are in charge of a team then be unapologetic in taking control. You are the boss. Do your job and make everyone else do theirs. If someone's feelings get hurt, then oh well. When I played ball my coach told me what I did wrong and I fixed it. I didn't question it. I just worked my ass off to fix it. My father played every sport available to him and he always taught me to never question the coach. A player's responsibility is to the team not to their pride. And coaches cannot fall into the trap of letting the inmates run the asylum.
So ask yourself this: Do I hate Bobby Valentine because he's a horrible manager or do I hate Bobby Valentine because he isn't Terry Francona? Bobby didn't get Terry fired. Terry got Terry fired. Terry Francona is gone and he is not coming back. Theo, Varitek, Wakefield, Papelbon, Lowrie, Scutaro, Pedro, Trot, Millar, Manny, Damon, Nomar and Terry Francona are all gone and they aren't coming back. 2004 is over. 2007 is over. This Red Sox team is not THAT Red Sox team. As hard as it is to let go, it's past time. I will always be a fan of the Boston Red Sox, but I will never be a blind fan. We are all armchair coaches and we all have our opinions on how a team should be run, but at the end of the game we still aren't in charge. Let Bobby Valentine finish his time in Boston. We know he's not a lifer, but have the decency to give him a chance because no matter what, he's the only guy who wants the job right now. And one last thing to remember: Getting rid of Valentine will not "fix" this team. After he is chewed up and spat out we will still be left with a team of miscreants. So I don't know about any other fans but I hope he can make a difference before he leaves town.