Normally in this space, we’re talking about the benefits of group fitness exercise and BodyPump, but today’s topic is a completely different animal.
Unless you were under a rock the last 12 months, the Boston Red Sox have been nothing short of a disaster. It all commenced last September, with a 7-20 free-for-all that left the Old Towne Team out of the playoffs and Terry Francona out of a job. General Manager Theo Epstein jumped ship as well, taking a similar post with the Chicago Cubs.
Enter Bobby Valentine.
Bobby V’s managerial tactics are much different than the laid-back Francona, who was best described as a players’ manager. Valentine is an old-school guy, a throwback who had a history of clashing with his players, who demanded respect. Think of going from Tim Whitehead to Shawn Walsh, Claude Julien to Herb Brooks, or Mike Shanahan to Vince Lombardi.
Over ninety losses and a last-place finish later, Valentine has worn out his welcome in Boston, as the team announced his firing as manager Thursday afternoon. All of Red Sox Nation knew this was coming after Boston concluded it’s worst season since Lyndon Johnson occupied the White House.
Valentine had success in previous managerial stops in New York and Japan, leading the Mets to a World Series appearance in 2000, but it was clear from the get-go that this wasn’t going to work out for him in Boston.
A mere 10 games into the season, Valentine was clashing with fan-favorite Kevin Youkilis, which angered the players.
A month later, Youkilis was on his way to the White Sox via a trade, and it was all downhill from there in a season in which Fenway Park celebrated its 100th birthday.
The end result was a 69-93 record, and a blockbuster August trade that sent Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez – the latter I wish had stayed in Boston – to the Dodgers.
Management stuck with Valentine throughout the season, riding his coattails to the bitter, unmerciful end on a drizzly night at Yankee Stadium. Valentine is known for having an blunt personality, even clashing with the media at certain points during the season. His old-school approach is why the Red Sox brought him in in the first place, to clean up the beer-and-fried chicken mess that Francona left.
Valentine’s approach did not sit well with Red Sox Nation. Clashing with your players and the media isn’t the way to win over a large market and the most rabid fans in baseball. Especially if those players are fan-favorites like Youkilis and Dustin Pedroia.
Fortunately, now that Valentine is on his way out, management has a chance to start fresh. A new manager should be hired as quickly as possible, and deals should be worked out with outfielder Cody Ross and designated hitter David Ortiz, both free agents. The deal with the Dodgers also freed up plenty of salary cap space, and the team’s first priority is a starting pitcher once free agency starts.
The 2012 disaster is now officially behind us. Over. Done. Ownership has already claimed they will work their tails off to resurrect the Red Sox in 2013, which is a must if Fenway Park’s record-breaking sellout streak is to continue in 2013 and beyond. For now, we can all sit back, relax, and hope the Cinderella stories the Baltimore Orioles and Washington Nationals have authored give us a Beltway World Series.