Thursday, April 05, 2012

Red Sox Magic Number - 163

Opening Day for the Red Sox (and pretty much everyone else) - so their magic number for the season is 163. If you gave me enough time I could give you 163 reasons why Bobby Valentine makes me nervous as a manager but given my schedule - I'll just give you the top few.

I think for many Red Sox fans the news that Valentine will be doing weekly radio spots with Michael Kay, the voice of the Yankees, immediately brings to minds some reasons to be nervous about Valentine. People at the top levels of sports are bound to have healthy egos but this is a little over the top. Put it this way - could you see Joe Girardi of the Yankees doing the same thing? Joe Torre was a Hall of Fame manager - do you think the idea to do weekly radio spots with a Boston sports station ever would have made it past first base with Joe? Heck - Joe Torre and Terry Francona are friends but they used to play that down because of the Red Sox / Yankees rivalry. They though such chuminess was unseemly given the passion of their fans. Valentine doesn't seem to understand this.

Speaking of Terry Francona - he was basically fired because the Red Sox missed the playoffs two seasons in a row. Valentine's claim to fame is the fact that he led the Mets to the playoffs two years in a row (something no Mets manager was ever able to accomplish). Francona won two World Series - what has Valentine ever won?

Who Bobby Valentine isn't may be just a big a reason Red Sox fans aren't embracing him. He's not Terry Francona. As an aside - I hope Francona enjoys his stint as announcer for ESPN - I think he could excel at that job and he'd finally make listening to Sunday Night Baseball something that wouldn't make your ears bleed.  Valentine isn't Dale Sveum of the Cubs. He was the guy the Red Sox really wanted this off-season but Sveum probably didn't like the way Francona was treated on the way out the door (Francona has lots of friends in baseball and the Red Sox did themselves no favors smearing him on the way out the door). Have your heard anyone use the word "circus" to describe Sveum's managing style? Heck have you heard anything about Sveum this Spring training? He's been lower than low-key.

Valentine also isn't John Farrell, the manager of the Blue Jays, and the one guy every Red Sox fan would have liked to have replaced Terry Francona. Now Red Sox fans will have to watch Farrell 19 times a year and you know conscious or unconscious comparisons with Valentine will be made. I'll state my feeling plainly - if the Red Sox finish behind Toronto this year then Valentine should be fired right away and the experiment deemed a failure. Period.

Valentine is who he is and that's the problem. Let me circle back to his weekly radio spots with Michael Kay to finish up. I predict that at some point this year Kay will bring up something about a player and Valentine will say something or try to make a joke that will immediately make the situation much worse. You know this will happen. The man can't help himself. This is something you'd never have to worry about with Terry Francona - heck not something you'd have to worry about with any other manager in baseball.

Bobby Valentine makes Red Sox fans nervous because we remember Kevin Kennedy. And how did that work out?