Bobby Valentine. It just seems like a good name to curse, doesn’t it?
Let’s just hope it doesn’t come to that.
I think Valentine was definitely the right pick out of the two finalists for the Red Sox managerial position, but if there’s one thing I know it’s this: Valentine’s stay in Boston will either be a huge success ending in a championship or he’ll flop his way out of Boston like a trout in the Charles.
The good news is that, in Bobby V, I see pretty huge upside. Here are five reasons that he could be just what the Doctor (Ben Cherington) ordered:
Valentine has managed 2,189 major league baseball games, split over 15 seasons between the Texas Rangers and the New York Mets. Experienced managers win the World Series with new teams more often than less-experienced managers, so we’ve got that going for us.
Valentine was able to lead the New York Mets to the NLCS in 1999, then to the World Series in 2000. Better yet, he was able to lead Japan’s Chiba Lotte Marines to their first pennant and Japan Series title since 1974. This guy is revered in Japan. Now is his time to be revered in Boston.
A Big Personality
Everybody, myself included, considers Bobby Valentine to be something of a goof ball. He’s a big personality, at times outshining his own players. That might be just what Boston needs—someone who can deflect some attention off of the players.
His Media Background
In the past few years, Valentine has been working as an analyst for ESPN. Having been a part of the media himself, he knows the drill.
The media spotlight in Boston shines perhaps the brightest of anywhere in baseball, and Bobby will soak it up.
He’ll actually answer questions, likely with colorful answers, and will chew up much of the media’s time. This eases the burden on his players when it comes to postgame press conferences, and Valentine’s thick skin will help prepare him that much more for Boston’s inevitable media onslaught.
The Talent He Has to Work With
Despite his past successes both with the Mets and in Japan, Valentine has never had a lineup as talented as the one he will inherit in Boston. He’s set up for success with baseball’s best offense and a very good top three in the starting rotation. All he needs to do now is his job—managing the pieces effectively.
So at this point Bobby Valentine is sounding pretty great, right? What could possiblybe his downfall?
Valentine was a member of USC’s Sigma Chi fraternity, leaving me wondering…who will have a harder time keeping the beer out of the dugout, Josh Beckett or Bobby Valentine?
I’m looking forward to his press conference in Boston on Thursday—talk about an opportunity to set the tone for next season.
Geoff Roberts is the Founder and Managing Editor of howiGit.com, a Boston sports blog.