MLB Rumors: Red Sox's Poor Season Is Much Bigger Than Bobby Valentine
The Boston Red Sox's fourth-place standing in the American League East shouldn't be blamed on Bobby Valentine, despite his being an easy scapegoat for the beleaguered franchise.
According to Yahoo! Sports reporter Jeff Passan that doesn't appear to be the sentiment coming from the Boston players:
Boston Red Sox players blasted manager Bobby Valentine to owners John Henry and Larry Lucchino during a heated meeting called after a text message was sent by a group of frustrated players to the team and ownership in late July, three sources familiar with the meeting told Yahoo! Sports.
The report also states that every player didn't attend the meeting, and Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington wouldn't confirm what was, in fact, said about the Boston manager:
"The intent of the meeting was to provide a forum for people to express whatever frustration needed to be expressed at a time during the season when things were not going exactly the way we wanted to on the field in hopes that we could put whatever issues were there aside and focus on playing games the rest of the season. That was the intent of the meeting. That was the focus of ownership. It was a productive meeting."
Regardless of Cherington's stance on the meeting's specifics, it's clear that something is amiss here. Boston hasn't come close to playing up to the expectations of their inflated payroll, and something just seems off.
It's seemed off since last year. Ever since Josh Beckett, Jon Lester and John Lackey were reportedly drinking beer in the clubhouse on their off-days last year, the situation in Beantown has had a murky feel to it.
No one wants to underachieve, especially a team with an Opening Day payroll of $173.2 million. Before last season, Boston went on a spending spree with the idea of bringing another World Series ring to Fenway Park.
Instead, they've created baseball's biggest disappointment. There's bound to be some discontent that goes with that, but this is deeply rooted.
The Red Sox's core players don't appear to be happy with their new manager, and, let's be honest, it wasn't all that hard to see coming. Valentine isn't afraid to get in anyone's face, and Terry Francona was very much the opposite of that.
Passan's report cites "leaving in Lester, a well-respected figure in the clubhouse, to get blasted for 11 runs and four home runs against Toronto soured players already beaten down by Valentine's managerial style. Valentine uttering 'Nice inning, kid' to rookie third baseman Will Middlebrooks after he made a defensive blunder" as a few major incidents that have led to all this backlash.
Knowing Valentine's history, this isn't shocking. He has an ego, and he expects things to go his way, but guess what?
He's still the manager. As far as I'm concerned, that means the Red Sox players need to grow up and go play baseball. It's not like they're doing their part on the field, and, after all, the players are the ones who play the game.
It's their play that decides the ultimate outcome the majority of the time.
This problem runs much deeper than Boston's skipper. The Red Sox's nucleus is underachieving, and they're acting like juveniles in the process. Maybe the personalities between player and manager don't mesh in this situation, but who's out there getting lit up on the mound?
It's definitely not Valentine. That's on the players. Do your job on the field before you turn your attention to the guy putting you out there.
The likelihood of a Boston turnaround seems less and less every single day. One day, the Red Sox play like the expensive club that they are. The next day they look like a shell of their former selves.
Valentine isn't free of blame here, but this starts in the clubhouse that he inherited. Attitudes need adjustments, and priorities need to be reevaluated.
Until then, don't expect anything to change.
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