It is time for Bobby Valentine to quit his job. Not tomorrow, not at the end of the season—right now.
Notice I did not say fired. He should not be fired. The front office put Valentine in a bad position to start the season by not allowing him to choose his own coaching staff.
While choosing his own coaching staff would have been a nice luxury, it hardly should make or break a season. But it is a symptom of just how poorly this entire organization has been run this season.
This starts with the front office’s treatment of Valentine as a manager.
Valentine called out Youkilis at the beginning of the season. This seemed like a very Valentine-like move. Wasn’t this exactly the type of anti-Terry Francona type of managerial move the Red Sox got Valentine for in the first place?
Well, I guess not.
Per Steven Buckley of the Boston Herald, Valentine said Youkilis wasn’t “as physically or emotionally into the game as he has been in the past.”
Boston GM Ben Cherington responded by backing up the player and not the manager. Cherington said (via CBS Boston):
First of all, the way he expressed that was not the best way to express that. He said the same thing to Kevin and apologized. I think we’ll all learn from it and be able to handle it differently.
Dustin Pedroia felt the need to weigh in on the debate and told Valentine through the press, “That’s not the way we do things around here” (h/t Boston Herald).
There was no outcry about Pedroia calling out his manager. The front office did not remind him, at least publicly, the way the Red Sox did things before Valentine turned out to be a complete disaster.
So basically Valentine had to apologize for being, well…Valentine.
Tony Massarotti of the Boston Globe wrote:
Valentine came with a reputation for being a pot-stirrer and verbally provocative. And yet, at the first sign of provocation, Red Sox officials effectively neutered Valentine.
If the front office had no intention of getting behind the man they hired to take the helm of a ship that crashed and burned last September, why would the players ever listen to him?
We can leave on-field decisions for a different time. This is a matter of personality. The Red Sox knew what they were getting with Valentine, then acted surprised when he spoke his mind.
This would be like hiring Chris Rock to perform at your kid’s birthday party and acting shocked because his jokes were dirty.
But the final situation, the one that should make Valentine walk out the front door of Fenway Park and never look back, is the Will Middlebrooks situation.
Who is more to blame for Boston's bad season?
According to Dan Duquette, Jr. of NESN.com:
Valentine told WEEI's the Big Show that team ownership approached him only once this season about his communication with the players, after being overly sarcastic to the Sox third baseman.
After Middlebrooks had a rough inning in the field earlier in the season, Valentine told WEEI he sarcastically said to Middlebrooks, “Nice inning, Will” (h/t WEEI).
Not exactly the worst thing a manager has ever said to a player.
But apparently it was enough for the front office to once again strip even more authority from Valentine.
Once again Valentine had to apologize for being Valentine.
Rob Bradford of WEEI tweeted:
Valentine said Middlebrooks comment on @weei was "stupidest thing I've said on radio" Went on to explain story again— Rob Bradford (@bradfo) August 2, 2012
It is time for this strange union to end. The marriage of Valentine to the Boston Red Sox seems to have been conjured up by some sort of baseball devil—one that was destined to fail.
But Valentine should be the one who demands the divorce. He should get the last word and not give Boston’s front office the chance to fire him. It would be Valentine's final act as a member of the Red Sox organization, one that may actually make the front office take responsibility for themselves.