Bobby Valentine cannot continue to be the manager of the Boston Red Sox. He must be fired now.
He was harming the clubhouse and the team morale, but now he's turning the team into a national laughing stock. The latest episode in the saga is an embarrassing radio interview on WEEI's Big Show on Wednesday.
At a couple of points throughout the season, he's been rude to the hosts Glenn Ordway and Michael Holley, but this week's meltdown was totally unprofessional. He threatened to punch the interviewer, denied that turning up at 4:19 (when he usually arrives around two) is 'late', demanded to be told who reported it in the papers and went on a rant about a disappointing breakfast.
For hours afterwards, 'Bobby V' was trending on Twitter and even got a mention from the Tampa Bay Rays' manager Joe Maddon. He referenced it during a press conference and jokingly tweeted that he was delayed because his pedicure ran late.
It was just the latest in what has been a terrible season.
2012 has been a tumultuous year for the Red Sox organisation and Bobby V himself. A 63-75 record is the worst Boston has endured since 1992, and the second-worst since 1966. The pitching staff was horrific, the offense went through long slumps, the clubhouse atmosphere was far from harmonious and four players from the team's core were traded during the season.
To blame Bobby V for all of it is unfair; this lost season is almost entirely on the players. But Valentine hasn't done a good job in his first season at the helm. His handling of the pitching staff has gone from questionable to bad to destructive.
Should Bobby Valentine be fired?
The influence a manager has on a team is debatable. Even if one feels they exert very little control over wins and losses, though, it is undeniable that if a team is losing, a bad manager can make things much worse.
The world didn't find out about the chicken and beer antics of the 2011 Red Sox until after the season. Terry Francona may have lost the clubhouse in the nightmarish 7-20 September, but he did at least keep the salacious details out of the press.
This Sox team is going through another terrible run, having lost eight of the nine games on their current road trip. Since August 16, they are 6-16 and have been outscored 133-84 in that stretch. While the club is imploding on the field, the manager is exacerbating the situation, turning up late to the ballpark, seemingly forgetting his own lineup and now threatening to punch an interviewer in the mouth for deigning to ask him about those two events.
The situation has become untenable. Every time Bobby Valentine speaks it's now a disaster waiting to happen. The team is in a tail spin and the manager is making a laughing stock of the entire organisation.
Not only can he not be brought back in 2013 for the second year of his two-year contract, he has to be fired before the season ends. Tim Bogar could be made interim manager or the front office could find someone else but the Valentine era has become an absolute joke.