It’s more than a little unfair to place all the blame for the Red Sox struggles on Bobby Valentine. The Red Sox were not exactly in a good place before his arrival and seem to still have a lot of issues to iron out behind the scenes in the front office. We’ve had some bad luck and unfortunate injuries. Losing Jacoby Ellsbury was a big blow. Even the Carl Crawford of 2011 or a fossilized JD Drew would be an upgrade to our current outfield predicament. As baffling as he was at the plate, JD was rock solid patrolling right field. The outfield could use some stability. I didn’t think the bullpen would be this horrendous, but I was suspicious of their abilities from the start. There are several words that could be used to describe the current edition of the Boston Red Sox, my favorite is clusterfuck.
I wanted to try to like Bobby Valentine. I really did. I spent a lot of time ignoring the Red Sox over the winter, trying to get over the disappointment I felt in Terry Francona’s unceremonious departure from the team last fall. Initially, I liked what I saw in spring training. Bobby was preaching fundamentals and seemed to have a good program in place to get the team ready to play. He also rode his bike to work and I’m always willing to give out an extra point or two to cyclists. It hasn’t taken long for my opinion to change. I’m not particularly amused at his attempt to call out Youk in the media. I think it was far too early in the season for that kind of thing, and whatever his faults, Kevin Youkilis has always been a gamer. However, it was his insincere, uncomfortable, awkward attempt at retracting those statements that made me angry.
If you’re going to call a player out to the Boston media you better have the balls to stick by it. At his press conference in the aftermath his body language reminded me of Roger Clemens very uncomfortable testimony about his involvement with steroids. If he truly didn’t mean his statements the way they were picked up and interpreted by the media, why not say sorry, we’re clearing this up privately and move on? Why give us some rambling, incomplete mumbo-jumbo about Youk not breaking helmets and generally acting like a 4-year-old having a temper tantrum when he makes an out at the plate? Shouldn’t we see this new-found maturity as a positive step? I don’t know anyone who measures work ethic with a “helmets thrown” yardstick. Bobby Valentine should hire a press secretary to handle his statements to the media, we’d all be better off.
Dustin Pedroia will forever have my respect and admiration, but he didn’t help things out with his knee-jerk reaction. I wish he had kept his statements in-house. It seems a little hypocritical to be saying we don’t call each other out like that here in Boston when you yourself are doing essentially the same thing. It felt like battle lines were being drawn. I understand Dustin is probably still smarting from the loss of Terry Francona, and I absolutely support his decision to defend Youk, I just wish he had made his statement a different way. Simply saying the team stands behind Youk and we know he’ll turn it around soon would have sufficed. Unfortunately, this is Boston and whether we admit it or not, we all love a good Red Sox catfight. I hope Dustin, Bobby and the whole team sat down behind closed doors and hashed things out.
The 2012 season is barely three weeks old. This team is more than capable of winning games and I hope we remember these early weeks in April as growing pains. Teams don’t benefit from mid-season mutinies