One year ago Monday, the Red Sox hired John Farrell to be their new manager. On Wednesday, they will play Game 1 of the World Series.
That’s impressive on its own, but the feat is even more remarkable when you consider the mess Farrell inherited last fall when the Red Sox were coming off an historically bad season. That horrible season, which featured the club’s most losses since 1965, was under the seemingly not-so-watchful eye of one Bobby Valentine.
The now ex-manager isn’t necessarily a pariah in Boston these days, as much as he is a laughingstock. He’s the butt end of jokes, thanks in part to a lack of humility and a perceived lack of competency in his one forgetful season as skipper. The Red Sox wisely moved on after one season, and they are much, much better for it.
However, Bobby V. is like a nagging injury in that he just won’t go away. With the Red Sox in the World Series, Valentine is back in the news because, well, he’s Bobby Valentine. He was the subject of a story in The Boston Globe on Tuesday that caught up with the former manager, who’s now serving as the athletic director at Sacred Heart University.
Valentine respects the job Farrell is doing, according to the story. However, there’s a part of Valentine that wonders whether he could have done the same thing with this same team if he was given his second year. The difference, Valentine says, is the team that general manager Ben Cherington has put together for the 2013 campaign.
“I’d like to think that if I came back for my second year that, given the changes and improvements, I would have been able to do the same thing,” Valentine told the Globe. “Ben did a great job this offseason rebuilding the team. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like it before. Usually a team will go after one or two free agents and hope they work out. When you’re signing seven or eight guys and they all work out and blend in together as well as they did, that’s amazing to me. The entire organization should be very proud of what they did. They should take a bow. It was amazing work.”
If Valentine is bitter that the team he saw blow up right in front of his eyes is now playing for baseball’s biggest prize, he’s doing a good enough job of hiding it.
“Those guys went through a lot of blood, sweat, and tears with me, and I with them, so I’m happy for them,” Valentine told the Globe. “I’m happy they could be part of a winning situation.”
And when the Fall Classic begins, the Sox will have a fan in Valentine.
“I picked them to win the division, the ALDS, the ALCS, and now the World Series,” Valentine said. “I’m rooting them on. The  guys left on that team that I managed were all good guys. I enjoyed all of them, so why wouldn’t I root for them?”