Valentine will be introduced today as the 45th manager in Red Sox history, a startling turn of events to say the least. Just weeks ago, no one in the baseball operations department would have deemed him even worthy of discussion.
So what happened? For the moment, that question is more interesting than the discussion of how Valentine will perform.
The easiest conclusion to draw makes for the juiciest copy: Club president Larry Lucchino forced Valentine down the throat of new general manager Ben Cherington like a bird puking up its dinner for a baby chick.
There’s a reason one can draw such a connection with a straight line. After all, Valentine’s candidacy only came to light after ownership rejected Cherington’s presumed choice, Brewers hitting coach Dale Sveum. On top of that, Valentine met with ownership before baseball ops, a marked departure from the other five managerial candidates, who all started with Cherington’s group.
From there, it doesn’t exactly stretch credulity to view the whole process as a Lucchino power play, with the once-imposing figure who had been marginalized byTheo Epstein coming home to roost.
In this characterization, Lucchino basically is a cartoon villain, twirling his moustache while tying the damsel to the train tracks and then running Cherington over with a truck when he comes to her rescue.
It was around the blogosphere two days ago but today there is a press conference at 5:30 to announce that Bobby Valentine is the manager of your Boston Red Sox. While it appears that this is a Lucc, err... Joker's signing and completely undercuts GM Ben Cherington, this may completely backfire on them.
Bobby V is a character: he's, eccentric, not afraid to speak his mind, and looks out for himself. He is the exact opposite of Terry Francona, which is what they wanted to shake up the players and it appears that it has already worked. But he's won't just go with whatever the ownership says either. The players and the ownership took advantage of Tito's easy ways, now they have to deal with the antics that Bobby V will bring.
Bobby V wasn't the ideal manager the Sox were looking for, that man is currently running the rivals north of the border. John Farrell is still on the radar and in a few years when the Sox do this again, he's numero uno on the list. But while we wait, we have someone who loves baseball, has no problems playing in a big city and will definitely give us some sound bites that we will be playing for a long time coming.
Let the Bobby V era begin. Sit back and enjoy.
Globe:For Valentine, charity can be all consuming|Valentine a risky choice|Hall of fame ballot revealed|Herald:Rise of Bobby V raises eyebrows|Valentine should make Red Sox sweat|Former charges laud Valentine|CSNNE:Sox unhappy with Valentine|Valentine to assemble coaching staff|WEEI: In the end, Sox should've stuck with Francona