How bad is it for the Boston Red Sox in 2012? Well, 57-60 deep into August, 12.5 games behind the division leading New York Yankees and 6.5 games away from the Wild Card spot, occupied by two teams from the AL East. As postseason might have showed, the Bobby Valentine experience isn’t going too well.
Out of all the coaching jobs in sports, being a baseball manager is probably the less influential one. Just the way the sport is built – success can be attributed to managers, but they don’t have as much to do with it, on most cases, in comparison with other sports. The same should go with failure, but it seems that Valentine and his players, some of them at least, have been on a collision course from the moment he got the job. Now it’s up to the ownership the GM to decide which direction to take.
You can’t replace everyone on the roster, especially an expensive roster like the Red Sox have ($175 million payroll), but when it seems that more and more players aren’t feeling they get what they need from their manager, there’s a problem.
The most recent problems began on July 22. Valentine left Jon Lester in a game to be pummeled, giving up 11 runs, which enraged Adrian Gonzalez. The first baseman, hitting .307 this season with 13 home runs and 30 RBIs apparently texted ownership on behalf of himself and other players about their displeasure from the situation.
A few days later a meeting was held between John Henry and 17 players, with Dustin Pedroia and Gonzalez allegdly taking a very aggressive stance against Valentine, with some even saying they announced they weren’t willing to play for him anymore. There were meetings with the coaches and the manager as well. No one is willing to admit exactly what went on, but the silence or the obscurity around it suggests it wasn’t pretty.
Pedroia himself says that when it comes down to it, it’s on the players. I’m not sure if they’ll be the ones to be blamed for another apparant failure, just like last season, with club house problems taking the front page instead of Baseball, but they defenitley have a huge chunk of blame to shoulder. It’s like that in most sports, even more so in Baseball.
We had a meeting. I’ll be honest with everybody. We had a meeting in New York. The coaches had a meeting. Bobby had a meeting. We all had a meeting. Basically, when I spoke, I said we all need to do better. That includes owners, Bobby, coaches, especially the players.
I had one problem with Bobby earlier in the year and I went into his office and talked to him like a man. He talked to me like a man. We’ve been great, had a great relationship. I’ll go out there and play for him any day of the week. I’m playing for all my teammates.
It’s unfortunate that all this stuff comes out. I know we lost last year. We had huge signings and all kinds of stuff. We’re trying to play the game the right way and have an organization that does things right and plays winning baseball. It’s tough when all this stuff comes out that everyone’s trying to get the manager fired. That’s not the case.
It’s early to assume, and the Red Sox still have a chance of turning things around in August and September, but it seems the winds aren’t blowing in that direction. Maybe the dirty laundry isn’t being aired out at the moment, but once the season ends and the Red Sox miss out on the postseason once again (IF they miss out), we’ll be hearing a lot more about what happened behind the scenes during Valentine’s first season in Boston. The Red Sox haven’t had a losing season since 1997.