I got up today because the dog woke me up. Between waiting for his bowel movement and the consumption of my own breakfast, I spun over to ESPN to check out what Kruk had to say about Bobby V coming in to skipper the Sox.
Kruk Said Bobby V was exactly what the Sox needed. I’m not buying it.
Kruk said the Sox needed a guy that could spin a meltdown into a positive. A guy that was really likeable, but could also be abrasive. A guy that the players needed to give a chance to because their performance in September was so damn awful they not only blew the lead but also blew the right to have a say in anything going forward.
Which one of these things can only Bobby V do, and no other manager?
It’s funny the verbiage that keeps getting thrown around about the Sox, the Meltdown, and the new manager. Kruk says that Francona was the player’s buddy, and that he didn’t hold the players accountable for their actions, which is why they fell apart.
How, exactly, does a manager hold players accountable for their choking? Make them run laps? Fine them for bad play? Crack down on behaviors that have been working for them throughout the entire season, and previous seasons, but suddenly fail in the last month of 2011? No manager has a secret formula for success, and often times, punishing a team when their already feeling the noose of failure around their neck makes it worse.
I believe that Francona did take time to address the dark cloud on the Red Sox in September. He had to have because, after all, he’s the damn manager. You can’t pretend a catastrophic failure isn’t happening, not when you know your job is at stake. Changing things, however, is up to the team, not the manager. The team didn’t get it done, the manager gets the blame, the masses demand a sacrifice… computing… computing… answer: fire Francona, enter Bobby V.
I think what everyone seems to be operating on is this belief that a team shouldn’t lose if a lot of money and talent is wrapped up in it. But that is exactly what makes baseball the great game that it is. It’s a chance game.
And, it’s a game played by slobs with superstitions. Francona could have very well put the screws to the Sox when the end of the season was coming around and it might have changed absolutely nothing. Hind site is 20/20, and if it wasn’t for breaking stories about chicken, waffles, and beer, and the legacy of the Sox to goof off behind the scenes, we wouldn’t be talking like Francona was a push over and Bobby V is going to get the slack out of this motely crew.
I don’t think hiring Valentine was a great move, and I didn’t think canning Francona was either. I think what would be a good move is bringing balance to the Force here. If all the inside reports about team behaviors are to be believed, then the Red Sox team, composed of world class athletes and top tier talent. is nothing more then a bunch of reckless hyenas that should sail a pirate ship form one ball park to the next. You can’t honestly believe that all of them are unaccountable, selfish, and lazy to the point of not caring that they blew a season? I’m sure most are still pissed off about the way things went bust. Saying that they need a manager to come in and clamp down on them is not giving them, or the game the respect it is do. The Sox had a good manager with Francona. They had one hell of a bad September. Instead of putting it all into perspective, they now have a bunch of fingers getting pointed in every direction and a massive mess of emotions, blame, and expectations to resolve— and we think Bobby V is the man to do it because Kruk said Bobby can speak Japanese and that makes him a good listener?
I believe the players will need their confidence restored, their history learned from and then scrubbed, a vision put in place and a plan to get to. And then, simple balance. Fun with structure and accountability. If you think talking about them like their kids because they lost is going to fix anything, you’re wrong. Keep making them the enemy and see how well that works out next season, and how many of them stick around when their contracts are up.