In typical media circus fashion, Bobby Valentine was introduced yesterday as the 45th manager of the Boston Red Sox.
Look at him…doesn’t he look happy? All kidding aside, this was Red Sox fans’ first opportunity to hear from the man himself.
You only get one first impression, and God knows the Fenway faithful is a tough crowd. So how’d it go? Here are my winners and losers from yesterday’s introductory events.
Why me, you may ask? Loyal fan whose team crumbled, whose favorite manager was driven from town with his tail between his legs?
Let’s just say that I needed a lot of answers, and when I turned on my TV yesterday I was surprised to see my girl Heidi Watney drilling the Red Sox front office with all of the tough question I wanted answered.
I thought Heidi had left us for SoCal already, but instead she graced my screen and got me all the answers I need. Virtual high-five, Heids.
2) Ben Cherington
Ben Cherington was my big winner from yesterday’s events, far and away.
I’d always sort of seen him as a quiet Theo disciple with a super angular face, thinking of him as sort of the next best thing. Yesterday I saw Ben Cherington, GM of the Red Sox, for the first time. He looked sharp, spoke directly and laid out a solid plan for the team’s agenda at the winter meetings.
So what did he have to say? He made the recommendation to hire Valentine, a decision he’s very comfortable with.
A major signing will not be the focus this offseason, but adding pitching and outfield depth will be. The team has tons of internal work to do, and while it’s not glamorous, that will be his focus. Yesterday I became a Cherington fan. In an effort to not climb on the bandwagon too quick, I’ll officially dub him a SITM (stud-in-the-making).
3) Bobby Valentine
Bobby did all right for himself. He was asked a couple of really tough questions regarding his personality, questions that nobody would have a great answer to.
But he did say several things that won him major kudos in my book.
To start, he wanted the job the minute he found out it was available. He’s been put into some tough positions before, and he wanted a crack at this one. He said he’d talk to the players he’s criticized as an analyst and clear the air. He generally seemed to get the vibe of how special of an opportunity he’s been given. I have no doubt the man will be 100 percent committed.
1) Larry Lucchino
Larry Lucchino further cemented his reputation as the creep owner of the Red Sox. This guy just looks like a mob boss, and he irks me with everything that comes out of his mouth.
You get the sense that everyone else in the Red Sox organization is on the same page, or at least works through differing opinions in a constructive manner. Who knows if this guy is the thorn in the side of the organization that he’s been made out to be, but he could certainly lighten up a bit.
2) Bobby Valentine
Expectations are high. Anything short of a championship will be unacceptable. While he’s got a ton of personality, he really doesn’t speak that well or instill a ton of confidence (as Terry Francona did so well).
Bobby’s got a huge uphill battle to win over the fans that loved Tito so much, let alone the players.
Make no mistake about it, Bobby Valentine is already very much in an unenviable position. But if he’s able to dig the Red Sox out of this hole, the man will be worshipped.
Geoff Roberts is the Founder and Managing Editor of howiGit.com, a Boston sports blog.
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