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Jerry weighs in on the saga that is Bobby Valentine, and some other random topics.


You don’t really need to be a devoted  follower of sports (or European politics for that matter) to know that when the term”Vote of Confidence” is being thrown about, things are not going well. It tends not to matter whether or not the individual in question gets a thumbs up or down, the reality often is that the clock is ticking, and barring a dramatic turn of events, their time is limited. Clearly the Sox have been struggling all season long to get out of the shadows of the cellar, so in that context, a vote of confidence from the Red Sox’s brass, for Bobby V.  probably shouldn’t have been a surprise to me–but yet it was.

I’ve said from the beginning that I doubted Valentine’s tenure was going to be a long one, but it was because I expect he’s going to be that bridge from the Francona years to whoever will oversee their rebuilding. Much like Peter Carroll (1997-1999) was the  bridge between Bill Parcells and Bill Bilichick for the Patriots. It was obvious from the beginning that Bobby was not Ben Cherington’s first choice as manager, but you would think that there is too much invested in terms of money, time, and reputation for management to not get fully behind their manager. I mean, seriously, you won’t let him have his own coaches? You are allowing players to go behind his back to complain to the front office about what’s happening in the clubhouse? Who leaked to the press an off handed comment Valentine made to rookie third basemen, Will Middlebooks, months ago, so that it could blow up in public? Is this any way to run a winning organization? I think not.

The media in Boston, includes some of the finest, Hall of Fame quality, writers that there are in sports. But we also have our share of Max Mercys as well. Max was the sportswriter in the baseball classic, “The Natural”, portrayed by Robert Duvall, who seemed out to get Roy Hobbs. When Hobbs asked Mercy why, Max reply was that he was just protecting the sport. I feel that’s what’s going on in this case, that the media is trying to protect us from Bobby V. They did it by starting a buzz about the security of his position, they reported it as if it was  fact, and then pushed the Sox management to make some kind of declaration, which they did in a long strange email.

Valentine has certainly made his share of mistakes, and has been surprisingly inarticulate at times for someone with so much television experience. But he inherited a team that was coming off a classic collapse, that has set records for players on the disabled list and whose high priced pitching duo has struggled mightily. I think he deserves at least the two years, and the full support of management, that he was promised. If we are still having this conversation next year at this time, then let him go, but for now, is it too much to expect them to act like a team?


Will not getting Dempster haunt the Sox in 2012? (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

Right now the Red Sox rotation looks like Buchholz, Franklin Morales, Aaron Cook, Jon Lester, and Felix Doubront. Doubront seems to be tiring a bit, so they’ll certainly need another arm from somewhere. Perhaps Dice-K will surprise us and finish strong. (It’s called playing for your next contract.) Andrew Bailey should finally be making an appearance soon, and that will certainly help the bullpen.

In this week’s series with Texas, the Sox got to see two pitchers that were much discussed as possible additions to the staff, with different results. Roy Oswalt has struggled since coming to the Rangers and gave up game tying three run homer to Middlebooks. Ryan Dempster had another strong showing against the Sox (he shut them out over seven, last month as a Cub), after getting hit hard by the Angels. – Maybe he should just pitch against Boston?

One last thought: Is A. J. Burnett, the ultimate in small market performers? I know he had some moments in New York, but he seems very happy being off Broadway. Very off Broadway…

Featured image courtesy of: LM Otero/AP

About Jerry Ballgame

The personification of "old school", Jerry Ballgame was born in the shadow of Dr. Naismith's peach basket, and baptized in that "Dirty Water." Designated by his "Uncle" Ted, to keep an eye on things, he's here to tell everyone what his view is like from the Hub of the Universe.