Bobby Valentine attended Johnny Pesky’s funeral. As we
all know by now, only four of his players were there. For most of today,
columnists and radio hosts spent the day debating the lack of player support
shown at the funeral.
At his daily media briefing, Valentine refused to enter the
debate, saying only "I
think it's very insulting to the Pesky family for people to be thinking that an
organization that loved him so much did anything other than the right
thing. That's my answer to that."
While taping an interview for the latest edition of The
Bobby Valentine Show on NESN, Valentine shed a little light into why more
players may not have been on hand.
"When we got the notification of the ceremonies when we got
off the road, there was a list of ceremonies for Johnny and one of them was what
we were going to do on the field, one was what we were going to do later in the
week, and it was a real optional situation," said Valentine. "I knew the
guys were going to do the charity event with Josh Beckett that night and they
were talking about that.
"As far as David [Ortiz] showing up and Vicente Padilla and
I'm not sure who else — I saw Clay [Buchholz] was there and [Jarrod]
Saltalamacchia — I guess that's what they had to do that day and they thought
it to be important to do in their life. I'll be willing to bet that there are
many players that passed the church, maybe lit a candle, thought of Johnny
during that day, came to the ballpark the next day, obviously when we lined up
had Johnny in mind, so I don't think it was a neglect in any way, but, you know,
possibly could have been a bigger turnout."
It would certainly seem the team could've made the visit a
bigger priority for the players, who returned from a 10-game road trip in the
wee hours Monday morning. As Valentine said, it was clearly optional, and
all but four of the team's current players opted not to go.
"I think that everyone got an email, and,
you know, maybe that communication line isn’t set up the way it's supposed to
be," Valentine said.
Communication has been one of the buzzwords of the 2012 Red
Sox. While Pesky was being laid to rest Monday, the Red Sox were relieving
pitching coach Bob McClure of his duties. Valentine continues to talk
about communication in the clubhouse being a "work in progress," so I asked him
if it's normal for that progress to take a full season to complete.
"Normal is a really silly word, Tom," said Valentine. "This isn’t normal. There's nothing normal about being this manager this
year, with this group, and this staff. Nothing normal at all. What do you
mean normal? I think it’s getting very good.
"I'm texting guys when they get their days off now.
They wanted that and people think of that as the communication. I don't think
of that as the communication. I think the idea of communication is that there is
one voice, and that voice is heard throughout, and I think we need to continue to
work on that."
Was it tough to establish that chain of communication?
"Yeah, of course,"
said Valentine, "because you have to set up communication lines you know and
you have to teach what's being said. When Jesus came on earth, he chose 12 guys
to go around and spread the word. It wasn't easy for them to spread the word. Okay, I'm not Jesus, but there is a communication situation where you have to go
from one to many and that's not easy."