One of my favorite wrestling matches of all-time came on January 24, 1999. It was the WWE’s Royal Rumble pay-per-view and the match was between The Rock and Mankind.
It was an “I quit” match to rival pretty much any other that came before it or after.
The crux of the storyline centered around The Rock, at the time being Vince McMahon’s “boy” for lack of a better term. Vince wanted Mankind to be taken out. It was a bit of a power struggle. The Rock was at the time probably the greatest heel of the WWE “Attitude” era.
I won’t bore you with the details of the match, but for some reason that match came to mind when I read Christopher Gaspar’s piece in the Boston Globe this morning regarding the divide being wedged between Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine and general manager Ben Cherington.
Picture this: Ben Cherington is sort of like the Mankind character in this scenario. Wrestling fans know that Mick Foley (aka Mankind) fought Vince McMahon over the character and development of Mankind. Foley wanted to do things one way, Vince had other ideas in mind.
Bobby Valentine is kind of like The Rock in this scenario. He is outspoken (to say the least) and, as we all know, was the choice of Larry Lucchino’s to be the manager of the Red Sox, not Ben Cherington.
And ahh, Larry—the Vince McMahon of the Boston Red Sox; he who pulls the strings behind the scenes.
According to Gaspar, the wedge between the manager and general manager exists over the usage of two players in particular: Jose Iglesias and Daniel Bard.
Gaspar said that Valentine has told scouts outside of the Red Sox organization that he wants Iglesias to be the man at shortstop and he has been openly cynical about Daniel Bard’s transformation from closer to starter.
Chernigton on the other hand views Mike Aviles as the opening day shortstop for the Sox and Bard as a fourth or fifth starter for the club.
“Whose evaluation wins out, Valentine’s or Cherington’s, is going to signal how the Sox are going to be run and who wields the power in baseball operations.”
Ben Cherington wanted Dale Sveum to be the manager of the Sox, not Bobby-V. Let’s not forget that. Lucchino swooped in and, though he has said time and again that Cherington was in on the decision making, those that chose to read between the lines know that Valentine got the job because Vince, erm, Larry, wanted him to do so.
Right now, what we are witnessing is an Attitude Era slobber-knocker between two egos with the biggest ego of them all acting as the special guest referee.
I’ve thought that Cherington was an empty suit, pretty much from the day he was appointed the job. The best thing he’s done, so far, is tell Red Sox Nation that John Lackey would be out all of the 2012 season.
While, like Mankind, he is a likable guy in this situation, something tells me that Larry and Bobby, aka The Rock and Vince, are going to double up and beat Cherington and his authority with some “Good ‘Ol Boy” steel chairs.
Buy your tickets now folks, this show is going to be amazing.