Curt Schilling is the ideal analyst. He is a former elite player who is not afraid to speak his mind. Fans respect his opinion because of his greatness on the field and the respect he has garnered from his peers.
Recently on ESPN and on Boston’s WEEI radio network, Schilling has been voicing his opposition to new Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine. He believes many of Valentine’s tactics have been too extreme, and he has stated that he is already falling out of favor with his players.
Schilling is coming to this conclusion based on sources he has within the Red Sox clubhouse. The question all Sox fans have to be asking is: Who are these sources?
It’s actually quite easy to determine who Schilling is getting his information from. Schilling has not played for the Red Sox for several seasons so the player or players who are leaking their opposition to Valentine most likely have been on the team for a while. Obviously, Schilling was a pitcher, meaning that a veteran pitcher is the logical culprit.
Taking this into account, the signs all point to one man and one man only: Josh Beckett.
Beckett spoke to WEEI today, and ridiculed Schilling for his comments, basically saying he has no idea what’s going on with the team. Beckett could be angry at Schilling for stating how he feels on national television as Beckett may have believed he was speaking to Schilling in confidence.
The fact that anyone is already turning against Valentine is very troubling. The season has yet to begin, and if he has already lost control of his clubhouse, the team is destined for a difficult year.
The main problem with last year’s team was their lack of respect for authority and their inability to come together as one. Josh Beckett, who is supposed to be a leader, was one of the offenders last season. He is looked up to by his teammates, especially his fellow pitchers, and if he is butting heads with Valentine then other players may soon join him.
Schilling is known for being a Terry Francona supporter, so his comments about Valentine should be taken with a grain of salt. However, the fact that he is saying he has sources within the organization that are already turning on Valentine is revealing.
After last season’s historic collapse, one would think the team would come into this season focused and willing to follow their coaching staff blindly.
Maybe Valentine’s antics are too over the top and his act has already worn thin with the players. He is extremely outspoken with the media and is a drastic change from Francona, who was with the team for eight seasons.
Ownership believed making a major change was necessary, but the selection of Valentine may have been too abrasive for the clubhouse. Players like Dustin Pedroia, Kevin Youkilis and John Lester have only had one manager their entire careers in the majors. They may never be able to adjust to playing for a man who is the antithesis of Francona.
Valentine is a dream manager for the media. He says what’s on his mind and is willing to speak to the Boston media at all times. However, he needs to focus on his players and make sure he has full control over his clubhouse.
If he doesn’t, his stay in Boston will be a short one.