News comes today that Valentine, after some deliberation, will be keeping his job as Boston Red Sox Manager. The move shocks some fans who have been calling for his resignation since the beginning of the season, where the team started off 4-10 and have been in the cellar in the always-competitive American League East since before the All-Star break, according to Yahoo! Sports.
The Boston Red Sox have been terrible lately. A few short years ago, Boston was the place to be in terms of baseball, with two World Series Championships within three years of each other. New England had suddenly become a Shangri-La of sports with the Celtics becoming a force in the NBA, as well as the Patriots remaining a force in the NFL.
When this season started, hopes were high for Valentine, who had been out of the MLB a few years, serving as manager for the Chiba Lotte Marines in Japan (as well as winning the Japan Series in a 4-game sweep of the Hanshin Tigers). After leaving Japan, Valentine accepted a position as an analyst with ESPN. At various points, Valentine was rumored to take over for Eric Wedge in Cleveland (according to the Indians' official site), though he lost that job to Manny Acta. Not long after that, "Bobby V" was slated to manage the Milwaukee Brewers according to NBC Sports, though he lost that job to Ron Roenicke.
After signing with the Red Sox, the team got off to a rough start. There were plenty of reasons why: an aging ballclub, owners that weren't paying attention to what the team needed, and a change in direction brought on by a shift from former manager Terry Francona to Valentine. Any team making the transition from one style of play to another is going to experience difficulty. Not to mention enormous contract players like Carl Crawford (recently traded to the Dodgers in a massive deal that gutted the Boston Red Sox) missing games due to injuries, the Beantown Bombers had an uphill battle from the start.
"For any of you who are sorry I didn't get fired, I'm sorry that you're sorry," Valentine said. "But I don't think I did this morning." Principal owner John Henry and General Manager Ben Cherington had gone to Seattle (where the Red Sox are currently engaged in a west coast trip) on a "fact-finding" mission to determine exactly what's wrong with the team and whether Valentine is fit to lead or not, according to NESN. So far, the Red Sox have lost six straight games out of nine on their road trip.
Valentine responded to reporters with a good deal of sarcasm, according to Yahoo! Sports, when asked what he, John Henry and Ben Cherington discussed upon their arrival in Seattle, "What do you think, we talked about art? Liverpool?" Valentine said. "We talked about baseball and our team, obviously. Things that he's concerned about, and things that I deal with."
Though Valentine has yet to receive a contract extension (almost a sure sign he'll be out of a job once the season's over), Ben Cherington had the following to say about the Red Sox manager: "When the manager is in the middle of it and he's the one who has to answer the questions after the game every day, it's hard. I feel for him. I'm sure at times frustration comes out. The truth is he's working with a roster, some of which is we're finding out about guys. It's not as easy to write out the lineup as he thought it might be in spring training. That would be frustrating for anyone."