What to do With Bobby Valentine?
Bobby Valentine has been a baseball mainstay as a player, a coach, and a manager fairly consistently since 1969. Bobby’s career as a player was never too outstanding. Mired by injury, he never shone too brightly and never batted over .260. Valentine is best known for his managing. While he has been brilliant at times, he has never been afraid to let his temper get the best of him – his temper is what people first associate with him. In 2011, Valentine was given a new opportunity with the Boston Red Sox, but to-date has experienced disappointing results.
Valentine’s win-loss ratio is right about .510 over the course of almost 2,500 games. While never winning a World Series title, he has managed to take home the pennant on two occasions. In 1986 he was a whisper away from winning Manager of the Year accolades, finishing second in voting (losing to Red Sox manager, John McNamara). To say Valentine doesn’t have credentials to be a big league manager based on these stats alone, would be ignorant. It was his credentials, his past successes, that helped Valentine land his latest managing stint with the Sox.
Valentine has been in the news as of late for his underperforming Red Sox, despite one of baseball’s highest payroll’s from which to work. Valentine took the helm of the Bosox at the start of the 2011-2012 season, and the expectations for the team were very high. However, as we land more than halfway through the season the Red Sox sit well out of first in the AL East (12.5 games) with a 59-61 record – and are still a fair distance out of the second Wild Card playoff berth. Naturally, as most would do with such a talent-laden team, most have put the blame on Bobby for the poor season performance – and Valentine doesn’t disagree.
In a post-game conference recently, Bobby gave himself an “F” for his managing performance thus far this season. His players wouldn’t disagree, either. Reportedly a group of Red Sox players went to team ownership and said that they no longer wanted to play for their manager. Distention in the ranks is one of the hardest challenges for any coach or manager to face.
So, can Valentine be blamed for all of the team’s woes? Yes, and No.
The Red Sox have had a season similar to a lot of other professional teams this year in that they have been hit with some major injuries to key players in the mix. Working with a broken starting line-up and pitching rotation, there definitely have been challenges that Valentime has been faced with. Despite these injuries, Valentine is still responsible for making the best out of the tools he has, which is a line-up that most organizations would die for.
So where does Valentine go from here?
Valentine still deserves his keep for the rest of the season. While the Red Sox will no doubt miss the play-offs again this season, Valentine should have a chance to turn things around for the season. If the Red Sox finish the season on a winning note, putting together an impressive win streak, Valentine may redeem himself. He would also have some strong confidence and momentum going into next season.
However, if Valentine can’t get it together by the end of the season he needs to be axed. When that much money is being spent on one payroll, results are expected. Think of how you would feel if you gave a jeweler a lump of gold and an impressive diamond and you got back a mangled ring with a chipped diamond haphazardly glued on. Not to mention, that if he can’t win back the confidence of his team then he can’t expect to get the best results from them. It reminds me of when Butch Carter was let go from the Raptors after being exposed as a fraud for telling false war stories to his team – they lost confidence in him, and then they just lost.
A manager’s job is to put his pieces in the right place. Clearly, Valentine hasn’t being doing that – injuries or no injuries. Let him have the season… but, dangle that sword over his head.
… and that is the last word.
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