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Bobby Valentine: Is he the right choice to manage the Red Sox?

April 17, 2012
  • Bobby Valentine has already created a stir less than two weeks into his first season as manager of the Boston Red Sox.
Bobby Valentine has already created a stir less than two weeks into his first… (Winslow Townson / Associated…)

Bobby Valentine has already created a stir less than two weeks into his first season as manager of the Boston Red Sox, calling out popular third baseman Kevin Youkilis then apologizing to the player for his remarks.

Writers from around Tribune Co. discuss whether the veteran manager is the right fit for the Red Sox. Check back throughout the day for their responses and join the conversation by voting in the poll and leaving a comment of your own.

Ron Fritz, Baltimore Sun

It’s way too early to tell if Bobby Valentine is the right choice to manage the Red Sox. He certainly has the experience, and he convinced ownership he’s the guy. Now he needs to work on the players. They clearly preferred the country-club atmosphere under Terry Francona.

But after the late-season collapse and missing the playoffs, the players lost their country-club membership. Thanks to their pitiful performance and clubhouse shenanigans, someone had to go. After reports of clubhouse food deliveries and drinking beer during games, upper management felt that a grownup was needed to oversee this immature bunch. Happy Valentine’s Day, Boston.

What second baseman Dustin Pedroia said after Valentine criticized Kevin Youkilis was stunning: “I really don't know what Bobby’s trying to do, but that’s not the way we go about our stuff around here. He’ll figure that out.” Sorry Dustin, but you need to figure it out.

[Updated at 9:09 a.m.:

Phil Rogers, Chicago Tribune

Cry me a river, Dustin Pedroia. If you didn’t want to play for a manager as demanding as Bobby Valentine, you should have spoken up and forced your Boston Red Sox teammates to conduct themselves more professionally under Terry Francona.

The "Animal House" act in the clubhouse under a very lax -- and spread thin -- Francona contributed to the 7-20 September that left the Red Sox on the outside looking in during the 2011 playoffs. That angered team President Larry Lucchino, who ordered changes throughout the organization.

Valentine is exactly the right guy for the Red Sox. He's secure enough that he doesn't mind being the bad cop, as he was when management eliminated beer in the clubhouse, and he's smart enough to navigate the difficult AL East waters. He'll get the best from guys like Kevin Youkilis and Pedroia, whether they like him or not.]

[Updated at 12:14 p.m.

Dom Amore, Hartford Courant

Bobby Valentine has created his first crisis as Red Sox manager. He has criticized a player publicly and caused some grumbling about his methods.

OK, so what’s the bad part?

What, exactly, did Kevin Youkilis, Dustin Pedroia or anyone else in the Boston clubhouse expect? The Red Sox had a manager who “had the players backs,” who never criticized them through the media or added pressure to their plate. And it worked marvelously for years — until last September, when it crashed in a heap and Terry Francona left. Even Jon Lester said that the team probably needed more “structure.”

This is the change. Valentine was hired with a mandate to afflict the comfortable. He has done that, and will probably keep doing it, with upper management’s backing, because this is what the owners, and many fans, felt the Red Sox needed. How long Valentine will be the right man for the Red Sox is a different question. Right now, after the debacle of 2011, he is here for a reason, and what happened this week is that reason.]

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Bobby Valentine: Is he the right choice to manage the Red Sox?

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