Despite the historic collapse of the Red Sox this past season, it appears that some members of the team did not learn their lesson about the impact their selfish and diva-like behavior can have. Less than 24 hours after the news of the hiring Bobby Valentine as Boston’s next manager, the rumors have already started about the discontent of some players over the move. If these rumblings are true, one of the next steps the team may need to take is shaking up their roster, and moving out anybody who isn’t willing to set down their Coors Light and drumstick, and circle the wagons.
Two of Valentine’s personal attributes are presumably the cause for any unhappiness from players. As opposed to the taciturn Terry Francona, Valentine is renowned for firmly upholding standards and not coddling players. The shift in Boston will be going from a “player’s manager” to one who makes it clear that it is his way or the highway. There may be some players who believe that their excessive contracts and adoring fans make them exempt from being coached up. If this is the case, they are sadly mistaken.
Valentine is also not afraid of to take his players to task, in private or in the press. Particularly in New York, he had no problem raking players over the coals if he thought they were not living up to his expectations or standards. This is a delight to the press corps, but can be volatile in the world of prima donna millionaire athletes. One of the traits that made Francona so beloved was his consistency in never throwing his players under the bus. He handled all club business internally, which in light of the beer and chicken debacle, may have also led to his downfall.
It is a good bet that one of the players who is unhappy with Valentine’s hiring is Josh Beckett, who was blasted by his new skipper during an ESPN broadcasted game earlier this year. Valentine, who was annoyed by the length of time Beckett takes to throw each pitch, went out of his way to discuss during the game how much he disliked that habit. Beckett, already identified as one of this past year’s problem players in the clubhouse can’t be too excited to now be playing for the guy who embarrassed him on national television.
I am no fan of Valentine (yet), but now that he has been hired he deserves the chance to see what he can do with this team. The immediate rumors of unhappiness from the players may actually prove to be a major opportunity for the new manager and the team. Depending upon the severity of these attitudes, it may be prudent to weed out some of the malcontents and send a message that there is a new sheriff in town. The team is already in the weeds from events of recent months, and breaking everything wide open and starting anew may be just the remedy. Whatever happens, one thing is for sure, Bobby Valentine hasn’t even had his first press conference as Red Sox manager, but his presence is already reverberating all over Boston.
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