ESPN pundit Israel Gutierrez said on ESPN.com that former Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine didn’t get a real shot at managing the team. The sports reporter notes that Valentine was stuck with coaches he didn’t pick and that he was dealing with a culture in which the players were in charge. He says that Valentine’s tough, unique manner of discipline was either going bring about great results or would result in Valentine’s failing miserably. The title of Gutierrez piece says exactly what the ESPN reporter thinks, “Valentine didn’t get a real chance.”
Is Gutierrez Right?
Let’s see is Gutierrez correct? In one way he may be. I do think that the Red Sox front office made huge errors in the whole firing and hiring process. Their decisions were weak and they really didn’t think things through. But Gutierrez makes an assumption that either valentine was going to soar or plummet and there was no in between. I think there was an in between. In fact there were a few ways in which Valentine could have kept his job and also been seen as a success, but he did not have the capacity to do so.
How Do You Spell Success?
Here’s how Valentine keeps his job. First, he manages the team to a winning season. He didn’t have to get them to the playoffs, but even if the Red Sox had finished 88 and 74 (or somewhere around there), I think the guy would still be manager.
Along with that if he didn’t make so many stupid comments, he would probably still be skipper. Here’s the problem with Valentine—he publically humiliated players. For those of you who see nothing wrong with that, then I’d like to see how you react when your boss stops everyone else at work and call you out and then also calls your wife or husband or partner, calls your kids or parents and also sends out some emails to others important in your life saying you’re a bonehead. How’s that feel?
Another problem—Bobby was simply an embarrassment to the organization. His comments to Glenn Ordway on WEEI’s Big Show were reason enough to get him fired. Does Gutierrez even know about what Valentine said? After Ordway asked Valentine if reports were true that he had checked out for the season. Valentine responded a bit like Captain Queeg and a bit like Tony Soprano.
The soon-to-be former Red Sox manager said, “What an embarrassing thing to say. If I were there right now, I’d punch you right in the mouth.” Valentine added, “Ha. How’s that sound? Is that like I checked out? What an embarrassing thing.”
Yes, Valentine had one thing right—it was embarrassing. His answer was, that is, and that alone should have gotten the guy fired.
What Gutierrez Misses
In his commentary Gutierrez missed something very basic—Valentine was a thorough idiot through and through. In a town like Boston people see through guys like Valentine very quickly especially when they have someone to compare him to like Terry Francona.