Players must adjust
It's too early to tell. Bobby Valentine certainly has the experience, and he convinced ownership he's the guy. Now he needs to work on the players. They clearly preferred the country-club atmosphere under Terry Francona.
But after the late-season collapse and missing the playoffs last year, the players lost their country-club membership. Thanks to their pitiful performance and clubhouse shenanigans, someone had to go.
What second baseman Dustin Pedroia said after Valentine criticized Kevin Youkilis was stunning: "I really don't know what Bobby's trying to do, but that's not the way we go about our stuff around here. He'll figure that out." Sorry, Dustin, but you need to figure it out.
He's just doing his job
Bobby Valentine has criticized a player publicly and caused some grumbling about his methods.
OK, so what's the bad part?
What, exactly, did anyone in the Boston clubhouse expect? The Red Sox had a manager who "had the players backs," who never criticized them through the media or added pressure to their plates.
Valentine was hired with a mandate to afflict the comfortable. He has done that and probably will keep doing it, with upper management's backing, because this is what the owners, and many fans, felt the Red Sox needed. How long Valentine will be the right man for the Red Sox is a different question. He is here for a reason, and what happened this week is that reason.
He's a perfect fit
Cry me a river, Dustin Pedroia. If you didn't want to play for a manager as demanding as Bobby Valentine, you should have forced your teammates to conduct themselves more professionally under Terry Francona.
The Animal House act under a very lax Francona contributed to the 7-20 September that left the Red Sox on the outside looking in during the 2011 playoffs. That angered team President Larry Lucchino, who ordered changes throughout the organization.
Valentine is the perfect guy for the Red Sox. He's secure enough that he doesn't mind being the bad cop, and he's smart enough to navigate the difficult AL East waters. He'll get the best from players, whether they like him or not.
A mistake with Youkilis
The Red Sox managerial job might be the toughest in baseball. But having managed the Mets to five winning seasons, Bobby Valentine has shown he can thrive in such situations.
But Valentine should know better than to publicly question a player's commitment to the game, like he did with Kevin Youkilis.
Those kinds of comments will create controversy in any major league city, but in Boston they created a media firestorm, one that could have been avoided had Valentine spoken to Youkilis privately about his concerns.
As long as he learns from the Youkilis incident and does a better job of filtering his comments to the media, he can succeed in Boston.
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