The Boston Red Sox are embroiled in yet another of the seemingly endless controversies that have surrounded the team this season. Once again, manager Bobby Valentine is at the center of the unrest and, once again, he has found a scapegoat. This time, it is the Boston media.
Valentine came to Boston with a reputation for stirring the pot. Each time it has boiled over, he has found someone else at whom to point an accusatory finger. Dust up with Kevin Youkilis? It's the player's fault. Carl Crawford on a four-day playing program? Blame the medical staff.
Now, as the repercussions of the Yahoo! Sports story about the Red Sox players' near-mutiny reverberate, Bobby V has found his culprit - the media.
"The guys are upset that every time we win a game, something else pops out of the bag of tricks," Valentine said. "I guess this guy was sitting on the story for about three weeks and decided to wait right before the Yankees series to pop it out there .... Great stuff, really good stuff.''
What a crock. First of all, the story didn't appear after a win, which have been few and far between for this team. It ran following an off day, and on the heels of a 4-8 stretch since the start of August. Secondly, it came before the start of a three-game series with the Baltimore Orioles, not the New York Yankees. Thirdly, and most importantly, everyone from owner John Henry to general manager Ben Cherington to the Red Sox players confirm that the meeting took place.
But Bobby V wasn't done. Not only did he blame the media for a situation clearly instigated by his own shortcomings, but he made a point to undermine Boston's efforts to fix the problem by warning away potential free agents the Red Sox might pursue in the offseason.
"From what I gather it's common, it's what happens here," Valentine said on a local radio station. "One of the things I was discussing with one of the players was that all this noise is one of the reasons players don't like to sign here. You know, they don't have to deal with it in other markets. They don't have to worry about the drama of the day; they can just go out and play baseball."
That comment was a neat trick. Divert blame from yourself while also poisoning the well for the next guy so he will have a harder time turning things around and making you look bad. As Bobby V would say - great stuff, really good stuff.
The Red Sox season is lost, and the only way to avoid it happening again in 2013 is to start fresh with a new manager.
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Rick Blaine, an award-winning broadcaster and columnist, is a lifelong Red Sox fan. Follow him on Twitter @RickBlaineCT.
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