Why Bobby Valentine Was Set Up to Fail as Red Sox Manager
Whether it’s Mitt Romney or Barack Obama, imagine if the man who emerges victorious from this Presidential election only had one year in office.
That’s right, the Commander-in-Chief would only have one year to implement his plan, jumpstart the economy, trim the deficit, and solve the healthcare crisis.
Trying to cram four years' worth of work into a single year sounds preposterous when it comes to running this nation, no? Well, that’s exactly how it went down for the Commander-in-Chief of Red Sox Nation, Bobby Valentine.
In one of the most anti-climactic personnel moves in Boston sports history, Valentine was shown the door by GM Ben Cherington and the rest of the Red Sox brass not long after his first and only year on the job in Beantown (h/t ESPN).
I can’t believe I’m defending the unnecessarily abrasive and socially awkward Valentine, but I’m definitely in the minority when I believe that Bobby V. should’ve been given another year to potentially turn around the disaster that was the 2012 Boston Red Sox.
Of course, the detractors will declare my point-of-view blasphemous and “wicked stupid!” And they definitely have more than a leg to stand on in that regard.
Valentine certainly didn’t do anything to stop the Sox ship from sinking in such a disastrous manner. From throwing players like Kevin Youkilis and Will Middlebrooks ("Nice inning, kid!") under the bus to threatening to punch talk radio hosts in the mouth to not even being aware of who he put in the lineup on certain nights, Bobby V. dug his own grave in a lot of instances.
But the detractors can’t argue that Valentine simply wasn’t given the opportunity to succeed as Sox manager.
No matter how bad the year was (and with 69 wins, it was really bad), it’s tough for Valentine or any manager or coach to put his stamp on a team in just one season. Bill Belichick went 5-11 in his first season as Patriots coach in 2000, and he’s been just as surly with the Boston media as Valentine was.
Why weren’t Monday morning quarterbacks like Lou Merloni and Curt Schilling calling for Belichick’s head after one year? It’s because even before Valentine managed a single game in Boston, Schilling, Merloni and countless others had already made up their minds.
They didn’t want Valentine as manager and they weren’t going to support his cause, no matter how many games Bobby V. was going to win with a seriously flawed Boston team. It's a major understatement to say the embattled ex-Boston manager was dealt a tough hand.
After all, Valentine wasn’t able to hire his own coaching staff, was forced to play a Triple-A-caliber lineup after September, and was thrust into a city where players and the media simply didn’t like him—and weren’t ever going to change their minds.
Now, Bobby V. is gone and all eyes are on former Sox pitching coach, current Blue Jays manager, and Boston media darling John Farrell.
So, let’s say the months-long speculation is true and Farrell will be in Boston for 2013. After he also fails to win next year, is Cherington going to show him the door so quickly as well?
After all, the underwhelming Sox roster likely isn’t going to be much more talented in 2013 than it was in 2012, and Farrell hasn’t won jack as manager in Toronto.
With this said, I’ll ask you againL Will the Sox brass dismiss Farrell as quickly as they did the despised Bobby V.? I doubt it.
That’s because, much like with Valentine, those same fans and talking heads in the media have already made up their minds about Farrell. Only, unlike Valentine, they love Farrell. They believe he’s the savior who will come back to turn around the Dead Sox.
If that’s really the case, here’s hoping Boston gives Farrell—or whomever else will be next year’s manager—more than a sabotaged year to do so.
That’s all they gave Valentine, a man who was set up to fail from the beginning.
Even he deserved better.
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