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It’s only March, but Bobby Valentine is already making himself an easy target

Mar 14, 2012, 8:02 AM EDT

Bobby Valentine

I don’t mean that headline to be too critical. I’m not a hypocrite here. The media person in me really dislikes it when managers are boring by-the-book guys who seem to be animated by nothing. So I’m certainly not going to hate on Bobby Valentine for making life interesting. And interesting he has made it.

For example, on Monday he got into a little thing with Ozzie Guillen during a Marlins-Red Sox game.  Guillen was ejected. Valentine mockingly waved bye-bye to him from the dugout. After the game, Guillen was asked about it. He said he hadn’t seen it, but that if he he had he would’ve told Valentine to “go f*** himself.”  This led to Valentine to respond last night, saying about Guillen, “isn’t that his standard comment on everything?”

Last night, apparently, Valentine over-managed a bit during the first inning of a Yankees-Red Sox game, his first as Boston’s manager. With runners on second and third, he moved his infield back, appearing — as would make sense in the first inning of a spring training game — to be conceding a run. But then he had the infielders rush in when the pitcher delivered the ball.  This led to YES announcer Lou Piniella to criticize Valentine for being showy.

Like I said: I find this sort of thing — petty personal dustups and unconventional managing that causes media folks to chatter — all kinds of fun on a personal level. These sorts of things fill the space between games, make our comments section fun and keep us from getting bored by too many stone-faced guys talking and managing as if they were programmed.

I can’t say, however, that everyone will feel that way. Indeed, if the Red Sox don’t win and win a lot, Valentine’s schtick is gonna be held up as a reason for it, justified or not. He’ll be a distraction according to some. He will be unfavorably compared to the mostly no-nonsense Terry Francona.

It’s for this reason that I have always been somewhat skeptical of the Valentine hiring. He’s a smart guy. He has had success. I think he can be successful in Boston too.  But if the Sox do anything other than win the division, isn’t he the easiest target going?

And hasn’t the Boston media shown in the wake of the 2011 collapse and a million other examples before it that, if there’s an easy target, they’re gonna open with both barrels blazing?

  1. aceshigh11 - Mar 14, 2012 at 8:21 AM

    This whole thing can go south REAL fast.

    Boston fans are in no mood for showy nonsense, and the media is already licking its chops (Dan Shaughnessy can’t WAIT for something to go wrong).

    Francona may have been guilty of under-managing, but his style was PERFECT for Boston.

    • atworkident - Mar 14, 2012 at 8:27 AM

      Most Boston fans don’t even go to the game to watch it. His antics will hardly be noticed by “The Nation” until someone tells them about it.

      Although I am obviously not referring to the high quality, educated Boston fans that visit this website.

      • aceshigh11 - Mar 14, 2012 at 9:29 AM

        Yeah, thanks for that cheap shot. Very constructive. ;)

      • ras1tafari - Mar 14, 2012 at 9:59 AM

        yup, only 34,000 people go to each home game. And please: “red sox nation” was invented by NESN to scam $20/year off people. True fans of the team don’t need a card, or your blessing to know s–t when they see it the dugout.

      • 18thstreet - Mar 14, 2012 at 1:11 PM

        From my memory, Dan Shaugnessy invented the term “Red Sox Nation.” As a longtime Sox fan who hasn’t live in Massachusetts since I left for college in 1993, I like it. I wish someone other than CHB had come up with it, and I’m never buying the stupid card, but it’s a good term for a fan base spread all over. I wouldn’t mind if other teams’ fans used it, too.

  2. Mike P. - Mar 14, 2012 at 8:31 AM

    The key here is that it is a Spring Training game where, you know, teams work on different situations and plays when they see an opportunity to do so. Is it also “showy” to bring in your closer mid-game in Spring Training in an attempt to allow him to see better competition and more big league ballplayers? In watching the game with no allegiance to either team I felt Piniella should pipe down or at least realize that Valentine probably wanted to have his starting players simulate a late-game scenario and how he wanted it done. This all coming from a guy in Piniella whose own team questioned the way in which he prepared his players in Spring Training.

  3. bigjimatch - Mar 14, 2012 at 8:35 AM

    Speaking of overrated managers, its nice to hear from Pinella. Yankee announcers are the biggest homers in the universe. Having the team practice defense is now considered “too showy.”

  4. paperlions - Mar 14, 2012 at 8:36 AM

    I love the “Valentine has had success” comment. Realizing that manager records and “performance” are largely a function of player talent, Valentine has never “managed” a team to a 1st place finish during any of his 15 years as a MLB manager.

    But I also love his comments and will enjoy every “hey, look! I’m managing over here” moment while he’s with Boston.

    • El Bravo - Mar 14, 2012 at 10:15 AM

      Agreed. Most Overrated Manager? I think so. I’m not impressed.

  5. proudlycanadian - Mar 14, 2012 at 8:39 AM

    I was watching the game in which Guillen was tossed. Valentine was interviewed just after the incident and said that Guillen had a valid point. The first base umpire made the foul call when it was the responsibility of the home plate ump to make the call. He then pointed out that it was also spring training for the umps. He said that waived at Guillen because he did not have a proper chance to talk with him. I came into the season wanting to dump on Valentine; however, in that game, I found him to be refreshing.

    • El Bravo - Mar 14, 2012 at 10:17 AM

      Waived: Canadian for waved…. he he he

      • proudlycanadian - Mar 14, 2012 at 10:49 AM

        It passed my US spell checker.

      • El Bravo - Mar 14, 2012 at 11:01 AM

        ….don’t trust US spell checkers, we can’t spell for shit.

      • spindervish - Mar 14, 2012 at 11:12 AM

        It passed because it’s a word. Doesn’t mean you used it correctly.

  6. phatnate - Mar 14, 2012 at 8:53 AM

    Bobby V. always plays for the cameras. He is more interested in how he and his team are portrayed in the media than actually winning games.

  7. stex52 - Mar 14, 2012 at 9:22 AM

    I guess we all don’t have enough baseball going on yet. Seems pretty trivial to me. And, hey, isn’t it still Spring Training?

    Maybe we all need to go to some NCAA baseball games and get our fixes. Those are a lot of fun, too, and need our support.

  8. bigharold - Mar 14, 2012 at 9:23 AM

    HEY, .. LEAVE BOBBY ALONE!

    Afterall, he invented the wrap, .. ask him he’ll be glad to tell you .

  9. hammyofdoom - Mar 14, 2012 at 9:51 AM

    For a 2-3 year period, Bobby V right now is the perfect manager for the Red Sox. I was a little skeptical until I read an article that was really in depth about how Bill James went through a huge list of managerial firings/hirings, and the best situation from the team was to go from either players coach to more of a disciplinarian and vice versa. Also, all of his antics are taking away questions about the collapse, beer, chicken, clubhouse crap and turning it onto “Oh wow look at their manager being a weirdo!”.
    Seriously, Bobby is doing everything in Spring training: every game I think I’ve seen at least 1 bunt, and a bunch of stolen bases, delayed steals, hit and runs, defensive shifts, people playing out of position and so on. The guy hasn’t managed in a while and he’s doing EVERYTHING possible in Spring. Could he get old quick? Oh HELL yes! However, going from the most laid back manager ever to him was the right call. Seriously, Terry Francona told the media that Carl Crawford had his own “steal” sign last year in that he had a perpetual “Steal if you want” sign on. Yeah, PERFECT for a guy who’s struggling, let him figure it out himself…

  10. deathmonkey41 - Mar 14, 2012 at 9:55 AM

    I heard he brown-bagged his lunch. What an a-hole.

  11. eric174 - Mar 14, 2012 at 10:44 AM

    Must be a boring morning for you to be linking to anything
    the Yankee announcers are saying.

    Please explain why 1.) their opinion matters and 2) Why you don’t get that the spring is for practicing things.

    This isn’t hard.

  12. brewcrewfan54 - Mar 14, 2012 at 1:16 PM

    Bobby Valentine is a cocksucker. I wish him nothing but failure as a manager.

  13. giselleisasucubus - Mar 14, 2012 at 1:47 PM

    Are you serious with this bull*hit blog? Lou Pinella, the biggest ahole when he was a manager, also an attention whore, criticizes Bobby V for working on something and being “showy”? Yeah, the wave may have been a bit much, but really? Guillen is getting tossed from a spring trainiing game and Bobby was joking w/him. Not a big deal. Here is how a real Sox fan feels- glad to see Francona gone considering he was the worst game manager in baseball. I’ll take the cocky ahole that can manage a game over the babysitter who won because he has an frigin all star team every year. Sox will win 100 games.

  14. giselleisasucubus - Mar 14, 2012 at 1:51 PM

    and another thing- any fan that is under the age of 25 grew up watching a game that isnt baseball. You watched roid ball. The Sox, namely Francona, never adjusted to this change when drug testing got serious. Look at stats up to about 1988. THAT is baseball, not 65-70 hr’s and playing station to station. Booby V manages the game right. I cannot wait to start the season w/a manager that gets it.

    • wendell7 - Mar 14, 2012 at 3:07 PM

      Wouldn’t the “right” way to manage a team depend largely on the abilities of the players that make up said team?

    • Kevin S. - Mar 14, 2012 at 9:06 PM

      Oh, this is fun! Was roid ball much different from segregation ball or collusion ball or greenie ball or spit ball or no-team-outside-of-New-York-was-any-good ball? I must admit, I wasn’t around to watch those games. so I’m not sure how to stack them up to roid ball.

  15. professor59 - Mar 14, 2012 at 4:16 PM

    I don’t care whether Valentine wins or loses. It’s just better for all of us when he’s available for quotes. I’m with Craig on this one.

    Maybe ONLY this one, but nevertheless…

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