This is the season of goodwill toward all and acts of giving to family, friends and those in need; it is not the season of love, romance and roses. Yet in this Christmas season, the Red Sox ownership team got all weepy-eyed and fell in love with Bobby Valentine as the new manager of the Beantown team.
Valentine is without a doubt a charismatic figure and a baseball aficionado, but his record of achievement as a manager is less then stellar. As so many have pointed out, Valentine barely got into the playoffs with his teams and he has never been fitted for a World Series ring. So fans could legitimately ask, why Valentine?
No one will really know the answer, since the discussions among the ownership team of John Henry, Larry Luchino and Tom Werner is more secretive than the Catholic cardinals choosing a Pope. One can only speculate that Valentine talked his way into the job ( nothing wrong with that) and that the Big Three owners thought that he could end the practice of the players drinking beer and eating fried chicken before important games.
Now a manager is not the key person in determining the fortunes of a baseball team. To state the obvious, a team excels when it is made up of superior players. Of course the manager, if he has personnel skills, can motivate the players, scare the livin’ daylights out of the players, bench the malcontents, and demand that ownership give him guys who want to win, not concentrate on when their checks are direct deposited in the bank.
So much remains to be seen about Bobby Valentine’s skills as a manager. He certainly will be colorful and always available for a juicy quote or a statement designed to create controversy. But what the Red Sox need is a manager who can lift a team that was supposed to win it all last year out of its funk and back into the game.
I for one am more interested in whether Big Papi is too old to swing the bat, or whether the pitching staff can win crucial games and or whether there is someone out their who can replace Jonathan Papelbon. Sure Bobby Valentine will make key decisions, many of which fans will never see because they are made in the privacy of the clubhouse. But let’s get real, Bobby Valentine is just the manger, not the savior of our beloved hometown team.