Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Bobby Valentine

Let me weigh in on Bobby Valentine and his recent comments about Kevin Youkilis. I have three points I'd like to make.

1. Let me first say that I don't think Valentine knew at the time that he was saying something wrong or controversial. He was not trying some motivational ploy. It was just a poor choice of words by a guy in love with the sound of his own voice.

I have never thought Valentine to be that articulate. Sure he was a big improvement over Joe Morgan on ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball but that's not really that much of an accomplishment. Valentine is much closer to Chance the Gardner than Einstein no matter what his supporters would have you believe (remember Chance the Gardner's supporters thought he was smart enough to be President).

Bobby can't help being Bobby (like Manny couldn't help being Manny). He may be chastened by this accidental brouhaha for a while but with all of his media commitments (the Michael Kay show in NYC and his own weekly show on NESN just the tip of the iceberg of his need for attention) - Bobby V will strike again and again. He will make another offhand remark or try to make a joke about a player that will fall flat. He won't be able to help himself. That will be his downfall.

2. The Red Sox management are not stupid people. They knew what they were getting in Valentine. This makes me wonder if there is a bit of Machiavellian genius at work here. Is this like the book Dune where Baron Harkonnen first sends in the Beast Rabban with the idea of replacing him with the lovely Feyd Rautha (played by Sting in the 1984 movie).

The Red Sox probably looked at their candidates to replace Terry Francona and decided that none of them would make people forget the discarded Francona. There were no John Farrell's in the bunch and the closest thing - Dale Sveum - probably made it clear that he had no intention of working for the bunch that did his friend Francona so dirty.

With that in mind the Red Sox management made a 180 degree pivot to Bobby V. Knowing full well what they were getting. Let Bobby V implode and let the fans and players see what the other options look like then bring in a guy like DeMarlo Hale.

3. In the meantime Bobby V is in a position to do a lot of damage. I'm not talking about the season because almost no Red Sox fan has any hopes this year. I'm talking about him blowing out the arms of his starters on the way out the door. Daniel Bard had 111 pitches yesterday in 2nd start ever. Last year he had dead arm in September. If Bobby V keeps using him like that he might as well schedule his appointment with Dr. James Andrew right now.