When the Boston Red Sox fired Bobby Valentine on Oct. 4, you could hear Red Sox Nation's huge collective sigh of relief.
From early on in his short stint as the Red Sox's skipper, Valentine called out players, blamed other coaches, and went off on the media. One person does not ruin a season, but Bobby's actions made a strong case to show that he was a major reason why the Red Sox finished the season 69-93.
Here are five major reasons why Valentine never had control of the team:
Please note that quotes and stats were taken from MLB.com unless stated otherwise.
1. Calling out Kevin Youkilis to the media
Right at the beginning of the season, Kevin Youkilis was struggling. If you follow the Sox, saying Youkilis wears his heart on his sleeve is an understatement. Whenever he strikes out, pops out, or makes an error, he is cursing himself out. Youkilis knew he was not performing well -- and he took it to heart. Valentine felt like he needed to let the Boston television station NESN know about Youk's lack of performance. Valentine felt Kevin was not "physically or emotionally into the game." Red Sox second basemen Dustin Pedroia stepped up for Youkilis and called out Valentine, saying, "That's not how we go about our stuff here." It seemed to set the tone in the Sox's clubhouse that Bobby's relationship with the team was off to a rocky start.
2. Placing the blame of a bad season on other coaches
Talking with the media again, Valentine stated that other coaches had undercut him during the season -- which made it hard to manage the team. This video from ESPN.com shows Bobby V. saying there were no tangible examples, but he felt it. If you are the manager of the team, you have the responsibility to make sure everyone is on the same page.
3. Pulling No Punches
During an interview on the Boston sports radio station WEEI, Valentine was asked by radio show host Glenn Ordway why he was late to a game and if he had checked out as a manager. Bobby didn't find the line of questions right. He told Glenn that if they were in the same room, he would have punched Glenn right in the face. Does this sound like a manager who had things under control?
4. Lineup Blunder
Back in April, Valentine made an error when filling out the lineup card. According to ESPN, Valentine was making changes on his "smartphone" and messed up on who he wanted to play in the game.
"I looked on this thing," Valentine said, gesturing to his cell phone, "and there was no history on him. It had his name, and 'against left-handed hitting.' My fault. That's why you make these lineups out early enough." (Source ESPN.com)
5. Leaving in Daniel Bard for too long
Daniel Bard was expected to be the pitcher to replace Jonathan Papelbon as the team's closer. Valentine had gone back and forth on the decision to move Bard from the bullpen to the starting rotation during spring training.
Finally, Valentine decided Bard would be a starting pitcher. During a game against the Tampa Bay Rays on April 16, Bard had pitched six shutout innings. It was great to see Bard last that long, but going from a closer to a starting pitcher takes time. Valentine left Bard in for the seventh inning, and it was a move that cost the Sox the game and, even worse, Bard's confidence. He walked seven in the game, including the lone run, in a 1-0 loss.
Art Eddy grew up in New Hampshire and has been a Red Sox for many years.
- Sports & Recreation
- Kevin Youkilis
- Bobby Valentine
- Red Sox
- Daniel Bard