August 14, 2012

Gonzalez, Pedroia Lead Players' Revolt Against Valentine

Jeff Passan, Yahoo!:
Boston Red Sox players blasted manager Bobby Valentine to owners John Henry and Larry Lucchino during a heated meeting called after a text message was sent by a group of frustrated players to the team and ownership in late July, three sources familiar with the meeting told Yahoo! Sports.

The owners called the meeting for Boston's off-day in New York on July 26 after first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, texting on behalf of himself and some teammates, aired their dissatisfaction with Valentine for embarrassing starting pitcher Jon Lester by leaving him in to allow 11 runs during a July 22 start. It was the latest incident in a season's worth of bad relations bubbling between Red Sox players and Valentine.

Gonzalez and Dustin Pedroia were among the most vocal in the meeting, in which some players stated flatly they no longer wanted to play for Valentine, the sources said. The tenor of the 2 p.m. meeting at The Palace hotel in New York turned ugly almost immediately, according to the sources, whom Yahoo! Sports granted anonymity because they were not authorized to speak about internal matters.

Not all of the Red Sox players attended the meeting, the sources said, highlighting the chasm that exists not only between some players and Valentine but among players in the clubhouse. ...

[The players' discontent is] personified best perhaps by a picture circulating around via text message, according to a fourth source.

Pedroia, notorious among teammates for his wit and humor, is in the foreground with a giddy smile, his tongue wagging and both thumbs up. Next to him is allegedly Valentine, face down on a table, apparently asleep. A caption accompanies the picture: "Our manager contemplating his lineup at 3:30 p.m."
General manager Ben Cherington confirmed that a meeting did take place.

What a godawful mess this season has become. ... And there is still seven weeks to go!


allan said...

Buster Olney says there were 17 players in the meeting.

allan said...

"Passan on EEI basically saying that Bobby V's reputation didn't do him great favor coming in, and when the Youkilis situation happened he completely lost the clubhouse. Sounds like that's when Pedey fell off the wagon."

allan said...

SoSh post re WEEI Interview with Gonzalez:

They had a meeting with the players, they had a meeting with the coaches and they had a meeting with Bobby and it was to assess where we were as a team and as an organization and why we were where we were, and what our thoughts were, basically," Gonzalez said.
When asked if he felt the meeting -- which was described in the story as "heated," in which players reportedly "blasted" manager Bobby Valentine to ownership -- was productive, Gonzalez offered a quick response.
"We still haven't played well since then," the first baseman said.


Wow. Is that what was said really? That's what Dustin and Adrian said? It did say that? I didn't hear that," Valentine told reporters. "I'm glad that July is over because they're still playing for me."
Valentine later added, "I’m not going to comment on any stories because I don’t know what issues you might be referring to. Adrian’s issues? Dustin and I had a talk about a meeting I had. I don’t know if that was July.”


allan said...

According to Passsan, "some big names decided against going to the meeting".

allan said...

Buster_ESPN Buster Olney:
"2 things had to happen for Bobby V./BOS to work: 1. He had to be cognizant of his rep with players and adjust. But the Youk comment ended any chance of that happening. 2. The players had to keep an open mind about him, but that simply has not occurred, since Youk comment


AP: After Valentine’s pregame session with reporters, Pedroia and Gonzalez refused comment and said they might not talk to the media for the rest of the season.


allan said...

SoSHer says Lucchino should tell the players: "Make the playoffs and I'll fire him."

Section 36 said...

If this gets Pedroia to keep his trap shut for the rest of the season, it was a meeting well done.

Steve said...

Disappointing and depressing.

Amy said...

What a mess. Hard to know if they are dysfunctional because they are playing badly or they are playing badly because they are dysfunctional.

Tom DePlonty said...

Is it just me, or is there a serious authoritarian streak in SoSH? They're mostly down on the players for this.

Kathryn said...

I'm down on the players, too. As I stated during the game thread:

It is bad on so many levels. Players going after the manager, texting the owners, "sources" talking about it to the media. At some point, the players have to look at themselves, quit blaming others, and STFU.

allan said...

Is it just me, or is there a serious authoritarian streak in SoSH? They're mostly down on the players for this.

Well, there is plenty of anti-BV sentiment there. But who says the manager has to be buddy-buddy with all the players? Your manager is an asshole? So what. Most players have probably played for a jerk at some point. You still gotta show up and play without whining to management about it. And maybe if those same players had not walked all over Francona, they would not be in this shitty situation now.

allan said...

Nick Cafardo‏@nickcafardo
Dustin Pedroia very upset about being named in Yahoo story about a July meeting with owners. Said he never ripped Bobby Valentine to owners


Jere said...

"Disappointing and depressing."

We don't know what happened.

"What a mess."

...the media has created to stir up shit.

" the players have to look at themselves, quit blaming others, and STFU"

They did none of this.

Everybody can have an opinion, but see what happened first. Let the other side answer. The media does this and it could be completely debunked, but they know they've already planted the seed. It's too late. The country now "knows" that the "Red Sox clubhouse is in turmoil," and even if the same guy who wrote the story comes out and says "I made the whole thing up," it doesn't matter, because the seed was planted. It's up to us not to believe everything we hear, especially before even hearing what the accused have to say!

allan said...

I don't think your "players always right, media always wrong" stance is going to work with the Valentine situation.

allan said...

Cafardo's tweet says Pedroia denies ripping BV, but Cafardo's story has no quotes like that:

I really haven't read it all. It's tough. We had a meeting -- I'll be honest with everybody -- we had a meeting in New York and the coaches had a meeting, Bobby had a meeting, we all had a meeting, and when I spoke I said we all need to get better --- that includes owners, Bobby, coaches, and especially the players.
I had one problem with Bobby all year and I went in and talked to him like a man and he talked to me like a man. And we've been great. We've had a great relationship. That's all I can really say about it. I'll go out there and play for him any day of the week. I'm playing for all my teammates and it's unfortunate that all this stuff comes out. I know we lost last year and we made huge signings and all kinds of stuff, but we're trying to play the game the right way and have an organization that does things the right way and play winning baseball.
It's tough when all this stuff comes out that everyone's trying to get the manager fired. It's not the case, man. I don't know, I've never met the guy who wrote the story.
I don't think Bobby should be fired. Listen, we haven't played well. That's the bottom line. I'm not going to blame anything on Bobby. I don't think anybody else is. It's on the players. Last year wasn't on Tito. I know he took it hard -- we all did. But it's on the players, man."


No denial. Though he is upset that the story of the meeting got out.

Ignacio Cifuentes said...

i'm no bobby v fan. i'll never be because i see him as a grady little light (always playing chess five moves behind) but this is not bobby's fault.

we all have had that obnoxious boss, a guy you don't like to work under. we either suck it up and keep working or we resign.

players come off as entitled brats who go to mom and dad and tell about how big brother is being an ass. somebody should give them a reality check, they are millionaires thanks to playing a kids game, the fact that you play a kid sport doesn't allow you to act like one.

bobby v is A problem... not THE problem. this goes beyond. let's not forget that this is the same bunch that drove tito out of boston (and they "liked" tito). bobby lost the clubhouse before even addressing to it and that's all players fault, in my honest opinion.

Maxwell Horse said...

I don't believe they drove Tito out of Boston. I think it was ownership that drove him out. He was going anyway regardless of what happened in September, as they (very conspicuously) never signed him to a new contract. The only thing that happened as a result of the September collapse was that ownership made extra sure to drag Francona through the mud on his way out. (But they might've done that anyway, even without the historic collapse; because then they'd have to "justify" his departure even moreso to the public in that case.)

The players didn't "quit" on Francona, and they're not quitting on Valentine in as much as his relationship with them probably doesn't have a big impact on the game results.

People like to keep reminding us that it's all on the players' on-field performance, the fact that they have a losing record. And while that's true, at the same time I think the fans like to have their cake and eat it too. While I honestly believe so much of this crap the press writes about how the players are all scum trying to get Valentine fired might be overblown or fabricated--whether or not that's true, shouldn't we also approach that possibility with the same pragmatism? What does it matter how badly they hate him or how sad that relationship is?

If it's deemed not-smart to blame the on-field results on any flaws and assholishness in Bobby's character, then shouldn't we do the same regarding the possibility of player assholishness in that relationship?

And if we conclude that, if can accept the correlation isn't there, then maybe we should ask why we're leaping to attention whenever such stories come out. Why do we automatically disbelieve the players yet take the word of various reporters (many of whom barely ever step foot into that clubhouse) to heart?

I think it's simply because we hate the players already for losing on the field. And I think the press knows this too, knows that that's what creates willing ears. Because if the Sox were winning this year, and this same (supposedly awful) atmosphere/relatinoship existed, do we honestly think these same reporters would be wasting their time blowing the lid off this thing?

laura k said...

M Horse, thanks for that. I agree.

The "whining entitled players" theme does not wash with me. Suck it up and do your job? Since when is that our advice to people who are unhappy at work, who feel an organization is being steered into the crapper? Why not speak up, see if you can make changes. BV is not sacred ground, the players are allowed - entitled, heaven forbid - to complain.

Tito was gone because that's what the FO wanted, and maybe what Tito wanted, too.

These days anyone who speaks up - whether to their boss or on a picket line or in an Occupy action - is labelled "entitled". It's code for "shut up and do what you're told". Be a sheep.

Tom DePlonty said...

But who says the manager has to be buddy-buddy with all the players? Your manager is an asshole? So what. Most players have probably played for a jerk at some point. You still gotta show up and play without whining to management about it.

I think that using the press to call out players - especially in Boston - goes beyond just being an asshole, and so the players may have a legitimate gripe.

I don't think this is "the reason" that they're playing so badly, but it probably doesn't help. And I don't understand why so many people immediately make the players out to be the bad guys. I know the prevailing narrative is that they ran Tito out of town because he "lost the clubhouse", but as far as I know, that's based on some pretty ambiguous comments from Tito, and was even disputed by some of the players afterwards.

Anyway. Yeah, what a mess.

laura k said...

You still gotta show up and play without whining to management about it.

Why? Why is it wrong to complain? If everyone likes the "we've all had bad bosses" analogy so much, if the players are just working stiffs like the rest of us, then since when is it wrong to be a whistle-blower, to complain to management about a terrible supervisor that you think is ruining the department? Maybe some of us don't have the guts to do it, and maybe some of us are too politic or ass-kissing to make waves, but that doesn't mean it's wrong when people speak up.

Kathryn said...

but that doesn't mean it's wrong when people speak up

But there is a right way and a wrong way to speak up. Sending a text to the owners* because your manager left the starter in too long is whining.

*There is plenty of blame to go around. I think the owners shoulder most of the blame for the Sox decline. Building and remaining a championship-caliber MLB team takes 100% focus. You can't have your time, energy, or money in other things (soccer, racing) and expect the MLB success to continue. That's why Steinbrenner was so successful in building and retaining the Yankee dynasty.

allan said...

I do hope the players went to Valentine initially with their gripe. If they got nowhere with him - and that is possible - then I guess you got to go upstairs.

BV is without a doubt a problem. But I also don't think we should let the players pick and choose their next manager.

Also, re the 11 runs Lester allowed to TOR. He gave up 5 in the first and 4 in the second. Then he gave up 2 more in the fifth. Is the fifth inning the problem? Would pulling him after 2 IP and 9 ER have been okay? If I recall, it was at the end of a road trip and the pen was spent.

laura k said...

I agree, I hope they went to Valentine first. Even if they know him to be completely unreceptive to player complaints, they should try. Maybe they did, we have no way of knowing.

9casey said...

Allan i believe it was the toronto game at home when they swept us..... i usually would take the players side, but they are coming off like whiny bitches....

allan said...

From all accounts online, it seems quite likely that Shoppach was one of the sources for this.

And now Newsday's Rod Boone tweet this afternoon:

Kelly Shoppach on #RedSox soap opera: "There is a disconnect in communication between the players through the upper management."


allan said...

John Henry's comments on Yahoo story:

"First of all for more than a decade we have had a code among players, staff and ownership that our meetings are private and do not leave the room. There is one reason for that. It enables all of us to openly discuss important issues. For more than a decade not one person in any of those meetings has gone to the media with private information. Over the decade we have made great strides as a result of these meetings in a number of ways including improvement in training facilities, protocols, safety, resources, travel issues, clubhouse issues and trust within a cooperative framework. But more than anything else these meetings have been about the same thing the meeting in New York was about — what it takes to win – what can we all do to improve our ability to win?

"About this time eight years ago we had one such meeting. It closely resembled the meeting in New York. Both were meetings I asked for. And both quickly went to the point – what do we need to do to turn things around. We held three meetings in New York – separating groups so as to have frank discussions about what was wrong.

"What Tom, Larry and I heard in the player meeting was one overriding sentiment. Players felt responsible for the record. They weren't blaming injuries or anyone but themselves. At the same time they openly spoke about what could improve in addition to their play. They made substantive points. We addressed those points. No one in that meeting at any time took the position that Bobby should be or needed to be replaced.

"I understand that when the team isn't playing up to our standards that issues are going to be sensationalized. But what is important for Red Sox fans to know is that ownership, players and all staff especially Bobby Valentine are determined to turn around what has thus far been an unacceptable, failed season. We are all on the same page in that regard and will not waver."


wilson said...

this glorious Giant Sand song springs to mind...