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Bring back Terry Francona!

Sep 4, 2012, 9:13 AM EDT

Bobby Valentine

“For whatever reason, owner John Henry and GM Ben Cherington chose not to fire Valentine on Monday …”

That quote, from the never quick-to-call-for-the-axe Ken Rosenthal, pretty much sums up your early morning long form reading.  Here’s Rosenthal’s take on what the Red Sox should do — re-hire Terry Francona! — and here’s Jeff Passan’s take on why Bobby Valentine was such a dumbass hire to begin with and a look at just how bad it’s gotten in the Red Sox clubhouse.

Rosenthal’s idea is a fun one, even if he himself admits that it’ll never happen. No, for the Red Sox to re-hire Francona John Henry and Larry Lucchino would have to admit that they made a gigantic blunder. And Francona would have to set aside what is likely still considerable anger over just how forcefully he was thrown under the bus last fall. This despite the fact that, yeah, Francona is still the best guy for that job.

You have to figure, though, that Valentine is gone the day after the season ends regardless. And the question Rosenthal asks — who replaces him — is a pretty darn good one, with no good answers available.

  1. Cyn - Sep 4, 2012 at 9:17 AM

    “This despite the fact that, yeah, Francona is still the best guy for that job.”

    By his own admission, he “lost” the clubhouse last September. He will always be my favorite Red Sox manager and there is no way to ever thank him enough for his part in 2004 and 2007, but, again, he admitted that he WAS part of the problem. Why would you bring part of the problem back?

    • noahstradamus414 - Sep 4, 2012 at 9:23 AM

      Exactly right. He trusted his players to act like professionals for all the good things he did for them. They did not and bringing him back would be problematic for that reason. Red Sox need a fresh start with someone both removed from the 2009 debacle and not woefully out-of-touch.

      • noahstradamus414 - Sep 4, 2012 at 9:23 AM

        2011 Debacle I mean!

    • heyblueyoustink - Sep 4, 2012 at 9:25 AM

      So we could play this in the backround:

    • townballblog - Sep 4, 2012 at 12:44 PM

      I think Ken Rosenthal has been reading my comments in HardballTalk

      townballblog – Aug 29, 2012 at 1:43 AM

      I just finished watching the game too, Matt. Call me a late bloomer but I wasn’t thinking until tonight that Bobby V. should be fired; not only was he a total looney today but Aceves has struggled ALL YEAR LONG with saves of more than one out.

      Perhaps Bobby V. already knows he’s not coming back next year. Injuries or not, he’s done a terrible job this year.

      Question now is this: who is available to manage? Seriously, who is out there?

      72 4

  2. psuravens19 - Sep 4, 2012 at 9:38 AM

    The Red Sox are not relevant in September and yet we still see articles and blogs about them every 10 minutes… can we move on please?

    • bigleagues - Sep 4, 2012 at 9:47 AM

      Find a way to have your team generate more drama – and thus, more chatter and traffic on HBT – problem solved.


      • psuravens19 - Sep 4, 2012 at 10:48 AM

        My team, the O’s, are doing just fine creating headlines and have been getting quite a bit of coverage. The best thing about it, they are doing it by winning and not being a circus act.

      • Old Gator - Sep 4, 2012 at 12:13 PM

        Circus acts are more fun than the dreary monotony of winning. And Peter Angelos is a genius. Why aren’t we hearing more about Peter Angelos? When he was treated like Frank McCourt Light, we heard about him all the time.

        I know there are legions of Os fans who want their daily fix of the wit and wisdom of their Maximum Leader. Succor them, Craig.

      • bigleagues - Sep 4, 2012 at 9:13 PM

        YEAH, what Old Gator said!

        Also, has anyone in Baltimore speculated what Duquette has inside his secret files on Angelos? I mean helping to put the O’s on a winning foot is one thing, but how did Angelos keep his silence so well when they were sliding back during mid-season?

        When history is written, Duquette’s greatest triumph in Baltimore will have been gaining the true respect of Angelos and thus autonomy to move the franchise forward . . . finally.

    • mickeylolich1968 - Sep 4, 2012 at 9:28 PM

      If you think this is bad just wail until the Yankees complete their own crash and burn September to forget this year.
      Oh the drama!

  3. gordongetgo - Sep 4, 2012 at 9:45 AM

    It has NOT been Bobby’s fault… but if you are going to replace him then hire Jim Riggleman.

    • henryd3rd - Sep 4, 2012 at 1:26 PM

      Now that’s a novel idea. There is one manager who would be perfect for the Sox. I can just see it. They hire that clown, put together a decent team and he goes in the the front office demanding to have his contract extended or he’ll lock himself in the the visitor’s locker room.

      By the way how has Washington done since Riggleman made his absurd contract demands in the middle of last season? Davey Johnson must be one of the luckiest men in the world.

  4. paperlions - Sep 4, 2012 at 9:46 AM

    Passan hit the nail on the head repeatedly when referring to Valentine’s personality and his attitudes toward players. Again, the reason Valentine was not offered ANY job in MLB for over a decade was because he was a horrible manager….no matter how smart you think you are, when your entire team hates you (as had happened at each of his stops), you are a horrible manager…..and it isn’t the players, it is the fact that he has all of the traits of a bad boss no matter what the line of work.

    • bigleagues - Sep 4, 2012 at 9:50 AM

      It isn’t the players? Did September 2011 not happen?

      And, just for the record, Jeff Passan is kind of the Bobby Valentine of baseball columnists.

      • paperlions - Sep 4, 2012 at 11:34 AM

        If 25 guys all hate 1 guy, there is a good chance it is the 1 guy that is the problem and not the 25 guys that dislike him. Valentine could have come in and been a unifying force, but that is not in his tool box. He acts like he doesn’t need the players to win, he’s a horrible communicator, often going weeks without talking to his own players while regularly blabbing to the media.

        Boston isn’t the first place where his players disliked him intensely, the same thing happened in Texas and NY….are you going to blame those situations on the 2011 Red Sox as well?

      • bigleagues - Sep 5, 2012 at 12:25 AM

        I don’t believe for a second that ‘all 25 guys hate Bobby Valentine. I think that is kind of an absurd assertion to make. It’s devoid of reality, especially given that some players, most prominently David Ortiz, have publicly come to Valentine’s defense. If Ortiz hated Bobby, then he could dial up someone like Jeff Passan and let that be known . . . OR he could have just said nothing. He did neither of these.

        Boston isn’t the first place where his players disliked him intensely, the same thing happened in Texas and NY

        Ya know what’s funny about your exhortation? (Beyond the obvious fact that Valentine managed for a total of 15 years between Texas and New York, and you are ready to cast him aside after one bad season in Boston that is NOT EVEN CLOSE TO BEING EVEN HALF OF HIS RESPONSIBILITY?)

        NO, what’s funny is how a guy like NOLAN RYAN – three years Valentine’s senior – LOVED playing for Bobby . . . but JOSH BECKETT – reportedly didn’t.

        Or that Mike Piazza LOVED playing for Valentine:

        “I just thought he was a great teacher — we had a good relationship, obviously, but knew what made me tick. He knew when to leave me alone as well, and he was able to read other guys that way, too,” said Piazza.

        “No question he has a brilliant baseball mind, he’s a real student of the game,” he said. “He was always able to see the game a couple of moves ahead. Some of his moves were definitely interesting and you’d wonder why he made them but he will get people talking.”

        “I think we were in Chicago or St. Louis one time, I really don’t remember which, and a couple of our guys had been thrown at high and tight, and we were beat up and he just made this great speech,” said Piazza. “It wasn’t really a ‘rah-rah’ speech, ‘let’s go get ‘em guys,’ but he just inspired us to go out there and play hard. It gave me the chills.”

        . . . but Captain intensity, Kevin Youkilis . . . well-documented as alienating and pissing off the Red Sox clubhouse long before Valentine ever arrived – didn’t.

        So, Paperlions, let’s FINALLY, once and for all, set the record straight about Valentine’s managerial career, shall we? Because we have all been witness to you and others trumpeting the factually-misappropriated mindless manufactured bile that has been heaped on Valentine by moody self-important sports writers for months (years), and I’m tired of it.

        Here’s what Globe columnist Peter Abraham (who probably has better insight into Valentine than any other beat reporter – having previously been the Mets beat reporter during Bobby’s tenure in NY) had to say about him back in November 2011:

        If Valentine comes to Boston, he will embrace everything about Fenway Park and the fans. But he’ll challenge the players, too. He won’t just assume somebody is good, he’ll make them prove it. He won’t do what’s easy, he’ll do what he thinks is right. He wants to win no matter what it takes.

        If somebody screws up, he’ll say it. If somebody in the media writes something he disagrees with, he’ll question them about it. He’s not a turn the other cheek kind of person.

        Yeah, real arrogant sounding. God forbid a man stand for something and defends what he stands for, rather than kowtowing to every critic.

        And what of those disastrous stints in Texas and NY that you keep hammering us about?

        – When Valentine was fired from the Texas Rangers – after the better part of EIGHT SEASONS (6 full seasons and 2 partial seasons) – he was the most successful manager in the 31-year history of the franchise.

        – In FOUR of those SIX FULL SEASONS, his teams finished above .500. No manager before him or after (until Ron Washington who will match Valentine with 4 when this season is done) had more than 3 above .500 seasons.

        Valentine’s early success – the 1987 Texas team that finished 2nd – came despite having rosters largely comprised of unproven or narrowly talented youth and veteran retreads.

        I guess two consecutive NLCS births and one WS birth means nothing.

        I guess winning 94-Games and the NL Pennant with a rotation of Mike Hampton, Al Leiter and a trio consisting of the high caliber pitching talents GLENDON RUSCH, RICK REED and BOBBY JONES counts for nothing. Furthermore, aside from Benitez, the bullpen was made up of last-chance johnny’s – nearly all of whom were out of baseball for good a year or two later.

        And how strange that it is, that Valentine’s boss at the time, Steve Phillips – with whom Bobby had much public friction – remains – to this day – one of Valentine’s biggest advocates.

        I’m not one to typically cite Tim Kurkjian, but last fall he was one of the few baseball writers to paint an accurate portrait of Valentine’s strengths:

        I say this while acknowledging that I’m hopelessly biased about Bobby Valentine. I covered his first season as a major league manager, and I watched him take a terrible team and a terrible organization and turn it all around in less than a year. Change the culture? He changed everything, especially the win total from 62 to 87.

        For three years, I sat next to him on the set of “Baseball Tonight,” and in meeting rooms with 15 games on TV, and I can tell you that no one knows the game better than Bobby V.

        He can be smug and he can be arrogant, but he has a right to be. Bobby Valentine has thrived at most things he has done in his life. He was a great football player; he once scored six touchdowns in the first half of a game at Stamford (Conn.) High School. He was heading to USC to replace O.J. Simpson at tailback, but he chose baseball over football after then-Dodgers general manager Al Campanis asked him, “What would you rather do, play against the best football players in the Pac-10 or against the best baseball players in the world?”

        When I asked him what thrill was the greatest for him, making a great play to his right at shortstop, hitting a home run or running 75 yards for a touchdown, Valentine took the play in the hole, but not before asking, “You’re not including dancing?” There have been few ballroom dancers better than Bobby Valentine, just another facet that separates him from the average baseball guy. He had his shirts dry-cleaned when he was 16. And he was the king of the high school science fair. So when he explains the maximum break on a curveball, and explains the physics of bat speed, it’s because he knows all about that stuff.

        OHhhhhhhh, how dare I – or anyone – assert that Bobby Valentine has been SUCCESSFUL in his career! I mean he has been an unadulterated loser, right? If we listened only to what you have been pounding home relentlessly – a mere echo of the storyline that a majority of the media had chosen to run with before the season ever started – then we’d never know that Bobby Valentine has had SUCCESSES as a Major League Manager.

        Do I believe that Valentine was the right for this team? NO. Do I think he deserves to come back? Honestly? It’s impossible to tell because there have been so many other WELL DOCUMENTED flaws with this team over the last 12 months.

        Yet, among certain members of the media and thus conferred unto a sizable chunk of the fan-base is an apparent belief that the blame for the Red Sox recent misfortunes on the field – dating all the way back to September 2011 have somehow been assigned to Valentine – when, WE ALL KNOW THAT BAD DECISION MAKING by Lucchino, Henry and yes, my boy Theo over several years is the REAL CULPRIT.

        So, please, give the Bobby bashing a rest. The players play the game. They are paid very well to play the game. They don’t need to like their manager anymore than the rest of us need to like our boss. The difference is the rest of us don’t have the leverage of guaranteed multi-million dollar contracts and a blood thirsty media who creatively dramatize anything we tell them.

        FINALLY, I ask you . . . does this look like a guy who is full of himself and arrogant?

        A former two-sport All-State athlete, former All-Star Major League Baseball player and having managed in two LCS’s and the World Series . . . directing traffic during a nasty snowstorm.


        Because he’s arrogant, narcissistic and thus full of himself?

        Or perhaps, because, short-staffed during a disastrous storm, Valentine went above and beyond the responsibilities required of his position as Stamford’s Public Safety Director and was humbly serving the public.

        His $10,000 salary was donated back into the Stamford community, incidentally. But he only did so because he is a self-centered asshole, right?

        If Bobby Valentine is fired at the end of this season, then feel free to celebrate and broadcast the obfuscated truth of Bobby Valentine’s career.

        If he’s not fired – DEAL WITH IT.

    • keithbangedyermom - Sep 4, 2012 at 10:05 AM

      A horrible manager doesn’t lead a slightly above average team like the 2000 Mets to the World Series. His communication with players might be awful, but he is most certainly not a “horrible manager”. NO ONE was going to succeed in that clubhouse of douchebags. But keep blaming BV if that makes you feel better.

      • paperlions - Sep 4, 2012 at 11:31 AM

        Any team can get lucky from time to time. Valentine has managed to never win a division title, and he pisses off his players everywhere he goes with his condescending, smug attitude.

  5. shaggylocks - Sep 4, 2012 at 9:53 AM

    They just need someone for another year until John Farrell’s contract with the Blue Jays is up.

    • keithbangedyermom - Sep 4, 2012 at 10:07 AM

      Yes, because we all know John Farrell is tremendous.

      • Old Gator - Sep 4, 2012 at 12:16 PM

        And how about his brother? Maybe they haven’t made a movie for a while because John has been busy managing the Feather Lice. I think the Farrelly Brothers would be the perfect managers for the Beanbags.

    • sophiethegreatdane - Sep 4, 2012 at 10:33 AM

      What is this fascination with John Farrell, exactly?

      • shaggylocks - Sep 4, 2012 at 10:38 AM

        Oh, you know, he is a remnant of the winning Red Sox era, and hard-nosed players like Josh Beckett respect him, so…. oh.

      • keithbangedyermom - Sep 4, 2012 at 12:31 PM

        Exactly. Its based on nothing.

      • hokiegajanisgod - Sep 4, 2012 at 4:36 PM

        There were reports that some of the Red Sox pitching staff were physically afraid/intimidated by Farrell.

        Nothing commands respect than the threat, real or otherwise, of getting your butt kicked by your coach?

    • henryd3rd - Sep 4, 2012 at 2:34 PM

      There’s no guarantee John Farrell would want to come back and mange this bunch of underachievers. Plus even though Toronto’s not winning much of anything there is little if any pressure on him there. Compared to Boston he’s got a sweet position. Baseball in Toronto has never risen to the level of fanaticism that hockey is and never will. They have never forgiven MLB for that strike and it shows in their attendance.

      That Hockey Country and baseball is just something for the locals to do in the Spring and Summer months

  6. bigleagues - Sep 4, 2012 at 10:11 AM

    Time for some book-keeping:

    1) The next Red Sox manager speculation has gotten somewhat comical.

    2) When Terry Francona was hired, everyone in New England proclaimed something along the lines of “HUH?! Ter-rEE Fran-coh-nAH?!

    So let’s quit with the “he’s still the best guy for job” exhortations. There are other qualified and perfectly capable candidates out there.

    Also, beyond the poor divorce, Francona has admitted that the daily grind of the job in Boston had worn him down.

    3) That said, IF the Sox really, really do want Francoma back, I have a feeling that there are dollar figures that could be achieved with an accompanying mea culpa that would allow Tito to let bygones be bygones. Seriously, how many managing jobs are there that could pay him $6-$8M per year?

    4) When Jeff Passan issues a clarification and/or retraction of what appeared to be a complete factual error in his ‘mutiny’ column with regard to Crawford’s 4-days on/1-day off playing regimen – I’ll begin to take him (at least somewhat) seriously again. Otherwise, IMHO, he’s a joke.

  7. cur68 - Sep 4, 2012 at 10:36 AM

    Maybe Henry should try and offer the job to the Great & Powerful Beane again? I mean he’s pretty much gotta, what with Moneyball II well underway for this season: its part of the script.

    • henryd3rd - Sep 4, 2012 at 2:37 PM

      He turned that job down once before and I doubt if he’d ever re-consider now. Plus hy would Billy leave that nice cushy situation he has had in Oakland to venturew into that lion’s den of Boston?

      • cur68 - Sep 4, 2012 at 2:44 PM

        That’s not the point. The point is to make Moneyball II work Henry needs to re-offer at Pitt The G&PB. THAT’S the point.

      • APBA Guy - Sep 4, 2012 at 4:10 PM

        The big reason that the Great and Powerful Beane turned down the job the first time was that his family was steadfastly opposed to leaving the West coast. Now that the kids are out of the house, he could reconsider, but he would not be nearly as inexpensive as Cherington, and therein would be a conflict with the tight-fisted Henry. Remember the G& P Beane has a taste of not only the A’s but also the San Jose Whatevers in the backandforthbackandforth ball league. Henry would have to make good on all that and make it worth the G & P Beane’s time etc, to take on a new “situation”.

      • bigleagues - Sep 5, 2012 at 12:35 AM

        Wait, when did John Henry suddenly become cast as ‘tight-fisted’?


  8. willclarkgameface - Sep 4, 2012 at 10:42 AM

    There is too much ego on Yawkey Way to allow Tito to come back. Hell, even to consider it for 2 seconds would be too much for those bozos.

    That’s fine. As stated earlier, there are many people out there that are qualified to do this job. Where they find this person is beyond me because to do what Terry did here is a steep hill to climb.

    First things first, you have to lose Bobby V. I’m on record as saying I feel bad for the guy and this holds true to this day. He didn’t deserve this.
    Second, trade Pedroia. He was supposed to be like a son to Terry and we never heard his side of what happened last fall so I’m going to put him in the same pile as Varitek – sheepish pricks.
    Third, find someone that can manage in one of the dumbest media markets in North America. Boston writers are looking for problems and when you look hard enough you’ll find something. I’m not saying that you just need to let the news come to you and that being inquisitive and curious is a bad thing, but turning the media in Boston into what they have in London is just dumb.
    Fourth, accept that free agents aren’t the answer. At least ones that are north of 30. Teams let these guys go for a reason and it isn’t always about the player merely wanting to much money. For the team to accept this means that they are going to have to eat a couple years and develop talent. SO WHAT. Get back to what works and DON’T accept losing the play-in game as a success for the year.
    Fifth, lose Ben Cherrington. Bring in a GM that can really get the job done. Ben serves a purpose. He lets Larry do his thing which is pretty much everything, Ben gets to say he is a big league GM, FO goes home happy, and team remains mediocre. A real GM needs to be there, someone that is allowed flexibility and autonomy (well, as much as is needed to be a GM).
    Sixth, rethink NESN. NESN is a shit hole sports network that broadcasts Magic Bullet infomercials during the day until their shit sports desk coverage picks up.
    Seventh, lose Don Orsillo. He’s a hack.
    Eighth, tell the PR people to stop with the Papa Gino’s promos about 50% off pizza when the team is in a free-fall to the cellar.
    Ninth, can the production of pink hats. It’s over Johnny.
    Tenth, LOSE SWEET CAROLINE. I fucking hate that song and don’t want to hear it EVER AGAIN. It’s lame at the game and now that things suck, it’s time to hit refresh on EVERYTHING, this included.


  9. nymets05 - Sep 4, 2012 at 11:06 AM

    Enough with the Bobby V stuff.This team that is so hyped just flat out sucks.Pedroia is nothing but a shit stirrer.

    Too bad,so sad for the moronic Red Sox nation!!

    • pisano - Sep 4, 2012 at 12:09 PM

      That pretty much covers it.

  10. mempusa - Sep 4, 2012 at 12:00 PM


    • henryd3rd - Sep 4, 2012 at 2:44 PM

      Now you’re talking. Former Boston favorite, crack baseball mind; but there is the lack of experience factor.

      Plus the front office would have him on such a short reign, Boston sports writers would dissect his every move and if and when the team came up short the Nation would turn on him just as quickly as they turned on Francona. And Francona manged them to two World Series Championships.

      No Varitek would be better of staying retired and enjoying being away from that high pressure caldron.

  11. leeeroooyjeeenkiiins - Sep 4, 2012 at 12:35 PM

    Last I checked, the only reason anyone would ever jump back into a train wreck is to try to rescue someone else from it.

  12. bbk1000 - Sep 4, 2012 at 12:45 PM

    They should hire Wally Backman and be done….

    • henryd3rd - Sep 4, 2012 at 2:49 PM

      The man can manage and he’d be a lot better hire then Valentine. However there is the little matter of his use of the English language. If the player are sensitive to profanity he’s not the guy.

      • cur68 - Sep 4, 2012 at 3:42 PM

        What do think Wally Backman would have done to Alfredo Aceves by now? Ripped his head off on live television, shot-putted it into the bleachers, and then use the neck hole as his own personal urinal probably. I’m not saying that Bachman would have a better record than Valentine, but damn he’d be great theater. Notice that it says “peanuts” across his jersey? Yeah, that’s half right.

      • bigleagues - Sep 5, 2012 at 12:48 AM

        Lee Mazzilli would make Backmon’s tirade sound like a Sunday School lesson.

  13. jsally430 - Sep 4, 2012 at 1:05 PM

    hey you could do the twins a favor and hire gardy!! I’m sure him telling every one they need to just slap singles with guys in scoring position would go well with Boston. we’ll also send you Joe mauer

  14. hokiegajanisgod - Sep 4, 2012 at 1:33 PM

    Is ‘Trader Jack’ still alive? Boston could use him in 2013!

  15. datdangdrewdundunituhgin - Sep 4, 2012 at 3:54 PM

    no matter if they are getting too much run, watching this team burn has been so enjoyable. i hate the red sox and i hate their fans for many reasons, and the most recent one being that you didn’t take gene lamont away from detroit last winter. guy is one of the worst coaches in the game, and i hope ‘the nation’ hires him after bobby valentine is done messing the bed out there. for the love of god, boston – YOU NEED GENE LAMONT ON YOUR BENCH!

  16. patsandsox - Sep 4, 2012 at 4:25 PM

    If the Sox could buy out Madden from Tampa and then surround him with talent from trades and some YOUNG free agents with the young talent they have aqquired from LA and in their farm to use as trade bait, and the new found money to use on the free agents they could rebound.

    I believe Bobby V was always seen as a one year stopgap. I dont see Farrell as a manager but I would love him back as the pitching coach. Whomever they get they need to let do it his way.

    Keep Pedrioa whatever else you do he is the one real ballplayer on the team! He may put his foot in his mouth but he can play his heart out. Keep Middlebrooks the kid can play. Keep Ross Keep Salty.
    Trade Ellsbury well he has value, Boras will never give a good deal and it will end up being another Crawford situation with his boo boo history.
    Keep Bucholz, Lester, and Doubront (hes arm is tired but he looked good until August) Keep Baily also.

    • bozosforall - Sep 5, 2012 at 12:27 AM

      Madden isn’t going anywhere, Boston idiot.

    • bigleagues - Sep 5, 2012 at 12:49 AM

      Also, Maddon is great in Tampa . . . but a lot of his act wouldn’t play well in the scrutiny of Boston. Which sucks, because I love him as a manager.

  17. artisan3m - Sep 4, 2012 at 5:08 PM

    I have to laugh at the mention of “re-hire Terry Francona.” I wish the Sox would make that offer so Terry could tell them how far up their asses they can shove Fenway and the Green Monster. There is strong doubt that either Henry or Lucchino are that dumb or desperate ~ even if they did hire Bobby V. I doubt also they will have the pleasure of firing Valentine. I expect him to quit long before the last game of the season. Who wouldn’t after reading the handwriting on the wall?

  18. justcuz15 - Sep 4, 2012 at 8:27 PM

    How bout they just fire bobby v and appoint a player manager, or better yet dont appoint a manager. Its not like they have anything to lose.Then the inmates really would be running the assylum. Its never gunna happen but if it did it would be entertaining

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