About a year ago, I blogged about my misgivings with the Red Sox naming Bobby Valentine manager.
Now, as the Sox completed their worst season since 1965 and Valentine got his walking papers, I give Bobby Valentine credit for at least this -- he tried to change the culture.
Personality-wise, the 2012 Red Sox were pretty much the same as the 2011 Red Sox: a bunch of spoiled prima donnas who thought they were entitled to do whatever they wanted.
Valentine tried to instill more discipline. The problem was that Valentine lost the team from the first few days of spring training. His way if instilling discipline was to berate Mike Aviles in front of the whole team for not running a cutoff play the way he wanted (which is prety ridiculous. This isn't football, where offenses and defenses are always evolving. The cutoff play has been pretty much unchanged for 100 years.). He lost the team before they even played a game. And that's not to defend the players, who are still spoiled brats and playing as poorly as they did this year is inexcusable.
But this speaks to exactly why I didn't want the Sox to tap Valentine as manager. He comes across as an arrogant jerk. Bobby Valentine would hate to manage himself. He thinks he's never wrong, which means that Bobby Valentine The Player would be just as much a prima donna as Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett or Carl Crawford. Boston Blobe columnist Bob Ryan once wrote that Bobby Valentine has never told a story in which he wasn't the hero, and it's true. Bobby Valentine wasnted to manage the Red Sox, but he also wanted to be the star.
Worse, Valentine is horrible with the media. He argued with everybody, from Glenn Ordway to Buster Olney. Sports media can blow things way out of proportion, particularly in Boston, but the problem is that the media always gets the last word. And when Bobby Valentine threatens to punch Glenn Ordway in the face or answers questions about whether his coaches undermined him with a third-grade-esque, "No," then he looks like an ass who quit when it became obvious that the Sox were doomed.
Sometimes I hate to be right. Unfortunately, this is one of those times.