While Bobby Valentine deserves to share his brunt of the
blame, he isn't entirely responsible for the team's failure. When he was hired
last December, the Red Sox wanted to change the culture.
After the Red Sox had taken advantage of Terry Francona's
laissez-faire attitude, Valentine was tapped as the one to humble the team. His
outspoken demeanor was supposed to eradicate the sense of entitlement from
But Valentine never had the opportunity to. When he
reportedly screamed at shortstop Mike Aviles during a pop-up drill in spring
training, veteran players voiced their displeasure and forced Valentine to
Then in April, Valentine touched a nerve by questioning
now-departed Kevin Youkilis' physical and mental commitment. The comments prompted
Dustin Pedroia to snap back, saying "that's not how we go about our stuff
Yet this was supposed to be Valentine's administration,
his rules. Instead, judging by Pedroia's retort, the team clearly had trouble
adjusting to Valentine's outspoken nature after Francona proved to be a
loveable player's coach.
Considering Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington sided
with the players on that particular issue — resulting in an apology from
Valentine — it continued to contradict the reason for the manager's hiring.
The frustration culminated in July, when the majority of
the team organized a meeting with ownership to ask for Valentine's ouster.
That's not the situation that Valentine expected upon
receiving the job. Each time he attempted to deliver a cold dose of discipline,
he wound up being reprimanded by management behind closed doors.
Valentine certainly made his share of mistakes. His
penchant for airing his grievances out through the media — in subtle fashion — alienated players and fellow coaches along the way.
Even so, Valentine tried to remove all sense of
entitlement with a hard-nosed approach.
By the time management realized the culture needed
changing, it was too late and the Red Sox were out of playoff contention. So
Cherington made his move and shipped off Josh Beckett, Adrian Gonzalez and Carl
Crawford to the Dodgers in August.
Despite the alterations, Valentine couldn't stay. Too
much damage with players and coaches had been done. A fresh start was
But in the end, Valentine never walked into the situation
that he anticipated last December.