November 30, 2011

NY Media: Lightning Rod Valentine Makes Rivalry Better

The reaction from New York:
Joel Sherman, Post:
The Red Sox have become the George Steinbrenner Yankees, and now they have their Billy Martin, a combustible manager as likely to throw the organization into further chaos as he is to bring championship glory. Valentine is ingenious and inflammatory, and his greatest detractors would add insincere.

But his supporters — and I fall much more into this subset — recognize Valentine is a brilliant tactician, as good an evaluator of talent as there is in the game, a maestro at deploying the strengths of a full 25-man roster, a tireless worker, an independent thinker and a competition junkie. He also is a riveting personality, a human carnival who doesn't do boring.

The Red Sox, who are pretty darn interesting, just went off the scale by employing the most polarizing figure in the game. And this hire turns the division into the new Big East. ...

The intensity of Yankees-Red Sox just went up a few degrees simply due to Valentine's history, intensity and personality. The Yankees are at Fenway April 20-22, and I already can't wait: Girardi’s simmering vanilla vs. Valentine's teeming rocky road. ...

Valentine tends to be more problematic when he works with people he does not respect (see Phillips, Steve). He likes smart, and Cherington and Lucchino are both plenty bright. Will they be bright enough to see Valentine is worth listening to on just about any issue involving a baseball team? Because Valentine is going to have strong, reason-backed opinions on everything. ...

His closest friends will tell you he is driven to win a World Series and this is his best chance. ...

He has that chance now. He takes over a talented but fractured roster. He works for a young, inexperienced GM. He comes to a baseball-loving town at a time when they are very down on their baseball team. It is a formula for greatness or disaster.
Don Burke and Joel Sherman, Post:
The white-hot Yankees-Red Sox rivalry took on an entirely new dimension last night when the Red Sox reached a verbal agreement with ex-Mets manager Bobby Valentine — who never met a spotlight he didn't try to outshine — to become the 45th manager in franchise history.

Valentine, according to a source, was flying last night from Japan, where he had participated in a charity event and made personal appearances, to Boston to sign a contract. A news conference is expected to be held [Thursday]. ...

The Red Sox had been without a manager since Sept. 30, when they parted ways with Terry Francona following a late-season collapse that saw them drop 20 of their final 27 games and blow the nine-game lead they held on Sept. 3 for the AL wild card.
David Waldstein, Times:
For more than a century, the rivalry between the Yankees and the Boston Red Sox has been the stuff of legend, filled with large personalities and fiery competitors. Now add to that caldron Bobby Valentine, one of the more colorful and controversial figures in recent New York baseball history. ...

Valentine, who in six years managing the Mets taunted the Yankees and stoked a rivalry from across town, now will do so from Fenway Park. And he will do so with an expensive, talented team that many predicted would win the World Series last season before it collapsed in historic fashion.

The possibility of his managing the Red Sox was hardly considered a month ago, when the Red Sox were examining candidates who did not have Valentine’s experience or charisma. But with the team in a state of upheaval, it was decided a more seasoned and engaging personality was required. ...

[In 1997,] He took over a Mets team that had floundered for seven years and brought steady improvement, the pinnacle of which was the World Series in 2000.

His tenure was marked by success and controversy, as he weeded out players he did not think fit the team concept and feuded with General Manager Steve Phillips. Despite occasional flare-ups, Valentine became the first manager to lead the Mets to the playoffs in consecutive years, in 1999 and 2000.
The Daily News has a poll asking about Valentine's tenure in Boston. An official announcement has not been made, but "it's too early to tell" is the least popular opinion:
Mike Lupica, Daily News:
You never need much to make the Red Sox vs. the Yankees better, with the possible exception of shortening some of their games by about an hour. But you have to know the whole thing gets more interesting now with Bobby Valentine, who comes back from a trip to Japan to take the job of managing the Red Sox. A lot of things happen when it becomes official, starting here: Bobby V. gets the best team he has ever had. In this country or in Japan, where he became such a star after leaving the Mets. ...

He can be a long day, everybody knows that — HE knows that — but you don't need such a long memory to remember his best work with the Mets, not just in 2000, but the year before, when he nearly brought his team all the way back from 3-0 down in the National League Championship Series against the Braves.

It is funny how these things work out in baseball, but Valentine said something that week, when the Mets got two wins and were set up to get another until Kenny Rogers walked in the season-ending run in Atlanta in Game 6. The Mets didn't quit when they were down 3-0. Valentine wouldn't let them quit. ...

"Someday somebody's going to do it," he said one day in the Mets dugout during the Braves series of 1999.

Everybody knew what he meant, and what he meant was that someday somebody would come all the way back from 3-0 down to win a playoff series in baseball.

"Why can't it be us?" he said.


allan said...

If you have a desire to hear Steve Phillips talk about Valentine, click here: D&C radio

allan said...

Good quotes from the past from Valentine re speed/leadoff guys, getting on base, when to steal, etc.

Note: This is not me shilling for Valentine, it's me trying to convince myself this is a smart hire. Stuff like this helps a lot.

Joel said...

Thanks for collecting so much of what is out there about Valentine. With any other manager, it might be overload - but when it's about Valentine, I can't get enough.

At the risk of being accused of self-promotion, I've pieced together the story of Valentine's time in Japan, which generally isn't being covered by the U.S. media. I thought that you and your readers might be interested. If so, here is a link.

allan said...

Alex Speier, WEEI:
According to multiple industry sources, after the Red Sox parted ways with Terry Francona after the season, Red Sox officials told at least one player that the team had no plans to hire "someone like Bobby Valentine." The implication was that the team did not anticipate hiring a manager who ran counter to the mold of a so-called player's manager such as Francona, who typically tried to keep clubhouse matters in house."


Amy said...

I will vote "too early to tell." But I am less negative than I would have been two months ago after reading this and the prior posts.

Anonymous said...

Maybe his Japanese street cred can help us get Darvish? And in dealing with Daisuke, etc?
I'm just happy we have a manager. Maybe now we can actually start filling roster holes.

9casey said...

Steve Phillips actually talked very highly of Bobby V on D&C this morning.

Took alot of blame for what happenend with the Mets.

Also he(Bobby) is very receptive whith GM and the "Bill James" ways of baseball.

He pretty much flipped everything they asked him negative about Bobby and turned it into a positive.

I believe Phillips did alot of soul searching in the last coulpe of years.

If you can find it listen to it..

allan said...

casey - thanks for that.
the link is in my first comment.

9casey said...

I guess i should read...:)

Anonymous said...

First off, I want to apologize to Red Sox fans for Bobby Valentine (he may in fact be the oldest man in history who still goes by 'Bobby'). He may be a winner. He may be good with numbers. He may know baseball. But he's an idiot.

Also, it's funny how many of the reports keep saying that Bobby is a "no nonsense" type of manager. Tell that to his Mr Potato Head disguise. I suppose he takes his undercover work seriously. But, then again, that would just make him delusional. I did like the disguise. I'll give him that.

laura k said...

I love to rag on Mets Rejects for any and all reasons, but sports (as well as other fields) are rife with examples of grown men who are called Bobby, Jimmy, Johnny, etc. I'm sure we can all think of plenty. Not really a mark against anyone.

9casey said...

Bobby Bonds
Bobby Orr
Bobby Bakala
Bobby Kennedy
Bobby Bonilla
Bobby Murcer
Bobby Cox

Should I go On?

laura k said...

More famous Bobbys

Bobby Fischer
Bobby Darin
Bobby Knight
Bobby DeNiro (to his friends and to name-droppers)
Bobby Riggs
and the incomparable Bobby Short, called Bobby til the day he died at 81

laura k said...

And neither of us got Bobby Doerr!

9casey said...

Its amazing we didnt duplicate

9casey said...

We would be good on Family Feud

laura k said...

Or $20,000 Pyramid. I used to like that show.

Its amazing we didnt duplicate

Well... I was going to put Bobby Bonds, Bobby Orr, and Bobby Murcer, but I saw your comment first. :)

9casey said...

laura k said...

Well... I was going to put Bobby Bonds, Bobby Orr, and Bobby Murcer, but I saw your comment first. :)

It amazes me that sometimes I just don't see the obvious.....:)

Jere said...

Last night's Final Jeopardy answer was about Bobby McFerrin. Born two months before Bobby V.

Pyramid: One of my favorite game show theme songs.