Watching Bobby Valentine wait to lose his job is like witnessing the Bataan Death March. It’s gruesome but you have to watch.
There might be a quiz on it in AP History.
On Wednesday, Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine was asked whether his assistant coaches have been loyal during his turbulent season. “No,” he told WEEI, a local radio station. “You asked me what I feel; that’s how I feel.” Did Valentine feel undermined by some of his coaches?
“Yes,” he said. “Just what I feel.”
Later in the day, Valentine expanded on his thoughts with the Boston Globe before the Red Sox played the Yankees. “I thought I had just a feeling. I don’t have any facts, just a feeling once in a while we weren’t all on the same page,” he said. Asked if that was a factor in the team’s demise, Valentine apparently just smiled.
“Oh, very little. I don’t think that had anything to do with anything,” he said. “They usually worked their way through anything that might have been misinterpreted.” Valentine would not name those coaches he felt were disloyal.
“No, no, no,” he said. “There are situations during the year where I didn’t think it was all for one or one for all, or whatever it is.” Nonetheless, Valentine said he could not recall a specific situation.
“I’m just trying to be honest,” he said.
He may not have brought the wins, but Bobby Valentine definitely brought the drama. Not like the Red Sox weren’t synonymous for that themselves. In a story published in August, the Boston Globe detailed the poor communication between Valentine and his coaching staff. Bench coach Tim Bogar and then-pitching coach Bob McClure admitted to having problems with the manager. Valentine said his ability to manage the team was hampered by a lack of information getting to his office.
Valentine also has almost no relationship with bullpen coach Gary Tuck. Like Bogar, he was a holdover from the staff of former manager Terry Francona. Talk about someone, who I’m sure is not missing any of this.
General manager Ben Cherington offered little comment on the matter Wednesday. “[Valentine] expressed his feeling and that’s his feeling,” Cherington said. “If he feels that way, I’m sorry he feels that way. I don’t know any examples that would lead to that kind of feeling. But that’s his feeling. I’m not in his office all the time; I’m not in the clubhouse all the time.”
The franchise is making sure to make Bobby sound like the crazy ex-girlfriend, he’s apparently about to become. Cherington continued, “I don’t know what exactly he was referring to. But he has a right to his opinion and expressed it. If he feels that way, I feel bad. I don’t want any manager to feel that way.” Cherington said Valentine never expressed those feelings to him.
“We talked a lot all year about the coaching staff and we did have to work through some issues,’’ said Cherington. “That particular sentiment was not expressed.” Bogar, Tuck, and batting coach Dave Magadan were under contract before Valentine was hired as manager. He was urged to retain them.
To be fair, this is a tough situation he walked into. Because Valentine was not hired until late November, few coaches of major league caliber were available, and McClure was a compromise choice as the pitching coach. “I think the process was all right. It was just late,” Valentine said. “It was a difficult process. It was fine, but difficult.” He essentially walked into a coaching staff, angry at the loss of their skipper, and a team that threw that skipper under the bus.
I wonder if Valentine misses his gig on ESPN. On WEEI, Valentine said some of the hires he made for the staff were “bad decisions.” Nonetheless, Valentine said he “absolutely” had the backing of owners John Henry and Tom Werner and team president Larry Lucchino. “Ownership’s been incredible,” he said. “I didn’t know very much of any of the three guys, but it seemed like when the things got worse one of them would always be there to say, ‘Hang with them.’ ” Valentine also said that Cherington backed him, although he did not go into detail.
Does Valentine regret taking what he called a “dream job” only 10 months ago? “No. It’s a great life experience,” he said. “That’s what life is. It wasn’t always an enjoyable experience but it’s been great. I’ll look back on it and I’m sure I’ve learned from it. “All of life’s lessons. How to deal with good and bad, new people, old people, young people, and circumstance.”