When the Boston Red Sox suffered the disastrous collapse in 2011, all signs pointed to Terry Francona. Yes, the same Terry Francona that carried his team to the postseason and even to a World Series title in 2004. Reports of fried chicken and beer in the clubhouse started to surface, teammates began blaming each other for losses and before the Red Sox knew it, they were out of postseason contention. After a catastrophic 2011 season, the Red Sox confirmed Terry Francona would not be back for the 2012 season. Instead the Red Sox went ahead and hired Bobby Valentine to manage the team in 2012. Yes, the same Bobby Valentine that was in the ESPN booth the same year the Red Sox suffered their collapse. The same Bobby Valentine that was the manager of the New York Mets that went to the World Series to play against the New York Yankees. Yes, the same Bobby Valentine that last managed the Chiba Lotte Marines-in Japan. The move was mind boggling to Major League Baseball fans but they decided to give Valentine a chance to manage the Red Sox out of their horrid September woes.
Well, the Red Sox didn’t get very far in 2012 after being plagued with injuries to Dustin Pedroia, Jacoby Ellsbury, David Ortiz and a plethora of other players. Valentine was not allowed to have his own coaching staff, he was not as close to the players in the clubhouse as was Francona and he would take any chance possible to make a comment. With which player did he have a publicized argument? Kevin Youkillis.
On April 15, 2012 while Bobby Valentine was on WHDH-TV, he made comments about Kevin Youkillis saying, “I don’t think he’s physically or emotionally into the game as he has been in the past for some reason.” Kevin Youkillis did not take the comments lightly and retorted on April 16 saying, “I’m more confused than anything, because I think I go out and play the game as hard as I can.” The relationship between Valentine and Youkillis remained strained until the Red Sox traded Youkillis to the Chicago White Sox on June 25, 2012.
On July 26, 2012, reports came out of Boston that while on an off day; players met with Red Sox management and begged that Valentine be fired. Players like Jon Lester (who was on the mound to implode in a July 22 game) and Adrian Gonzalez were the most vocal during the meeting. Dustin Pedroia also attended the meeting and spoke with reporters about it.
“It’s tough.” Pedroia commented. “We had a meeting. I will be honest with everyone. We had a meeting in New York. The coaches had a meeting. Bobby had a meeting. We all had a meeting. Basically, when I spoke, I said we needed to do better. That includes owners, Bobby, coaches, especially the players. I had one problem with Bobby earlier in the year and I went in his office and talked to him like a man. We’ve been great, had a great relationship. I’ll go out there and play for him any day of the week. I’m playing for all my teammates.”
Valentine knew that his time was running out as the Red Sox manager when he was in 4th place by the All-Star Break. The Red Sox were in a race all right-they were trying to stay out of last place with the Toronto Blue Jays. The Red Sox officially abandoned ship when they traded away Josh Beckett, Nick Punto, Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez to the Los Angeles Dodgers in late August, which meant that the Red Sox were willing to end their horrid season. It was looking as if signing Valentine to the 1-year contract was not such a good idea after all.
On October 3, 2012, the Red Sox told Valentine he would be managing his last game in a Red Sox uniform against the potent New York Yankees who were fighting for a postseason spot. The Red Sox were supposed to play spoiler to the Yankees but were swept by the Yankees in three games, the final game in a blowout 14-2 loss. The next day, it was official-Bobby Valentine was fired after one horrendous year by the Boston Red Sox ending in last place at 69-93, the teams’ worst since 1966. It became obvious that Bobby Valentine was not the answer for the Red Sox and now the Red Sox are looking for a new manager. It could have been a great opportunity for Bobby Valentine to manage the Red Sox to a winning record and have everyone forget about the 2011 collapse-but he just turned a team that was struggling into a joke by lack of chemistry in the clubhouse. The Red Sox will now have to rebuild-and Bobby Valentine will now have to find another job.
Gordon Edes. (July 16, 2012). Bobby V puts onus on Kevin Youkillis. Retrieved from http://espn.go.com/boston/mlb/story/_/id/8168192/boston-red-sox-bobby-valentine-blames-kevin-youkilis-poor-relationship
ESPN. (August 15, 2012). Dustin Pedroia denies Bobby V report. Retrieved from http://espn.go.com/boston/mlb/story/_/id/8269515/boston-red-sox-dustin-pedroia-says-team-meeting-took-place-think-bobby-valentine-fired
Jen Slothower. (August 25, 2012). Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett Trade from Red Sox to Dodgers Unrivaled in Unbelievibility, Magnitude. Retrieved from http://www.nesn.com/2012/08/adrian-gonzalez-josh-beckett-trade-from-red-sox-to-dodgers-unrivaled-in-unbelievability-magnitude.html
Cindy Boren. (October 4, 2012). Bobby Valentine fired by Red Sox after tumultuous season. Retrieved from http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/early-lead/wp/2012/10/04/bobby-valentine-fired-by-red-sox-after-tumultuous-season/