NEW YORK – Now that the season is over, it is hard to comprehend just how all-encompassing the Bobby Valentine experience proved.
There is no doubt fault for the Red Sox’ struggles extends well beyond the manager’s office to virtually every corner of the organization. Terrible starting pitching, injuries, performance downturns, bad personnel decisions and, in the notable case of the blockbuster trade with the Dodgers, even good ones all played a part in the Sox’ worst record since 1965.
Still, the running narrative about Valentine became mind-boggling at times. Thus, it seemed appropriate that the final day of the season featured another bit of wildness, this time, Valentine’s suggestion on WEEI that he did not feel that his coaching staff had been loyal, and that he felt as if members of the coaching staff had undermined him.
And then there was this: Prior to the Sox’ season-ending humiliation, a 14-2 loss to the Yankees, Valentine was asked whether his early-season remarks about Kevin Youkilis’ diminished passion for the game created a heightened sensitivity to subsequent remarks.
“Probably, or even the reputation led to others, yeah,” said Valentine. “And I thought a lot were innocuous.”
There might be at least some truth to that. If there were such a thing as a tabula rasa universe with Valentine, then perhaps rather than being seen as a constant source of agitation for the Red Sox, he might have been seen as something else.
But from the time even before he was interviewed, when at least one Red Sox player was told by team executives that Terry Francona wouldn’t be replaced with someone like Valentine, there were plenty of preconceptions. And it didn’t take long for the incidents to begin mounting at an astonishing rate to confirm suspicions about Valentine’s managerial stylings.
At the time that Valentine was hired, the Red Sox declared him the right man at the right time. In retrospect, he was exactly the opposite.
His reputation as a polarizing figure in the game -- a notion that traveled from player to player, from agent to player, from media members to players before, during and after his hiring process -- meant that a clubhouse damaged by the wake of the 2011 collapse, in which distrust was prevalent amidst curiosity about snitches, was ill-prepared to endure the jolt that resulted from a lightning rod being placed in its midst.
Suffice it to say, the jolts came early and often. A look back at the last year underscores the notion of the tumult that was associated with the year in the life of Valentine.
Here is a lengthy yet still incomplete list of some of the incidents that sent reverberations, whether subtle or considerable, through the Red Sox organization at some level.
Sept. 28, 2011
Red Sox suffer 4-3 season-ending walkoff loss to Orioles, falling short of the Rays in the wild card race by one game.
Sept. 30, 2011
With Terry Francona’s three-year contract having expired, the Red Sox elect not to exercise their option after a meeting between the manager, team owners, GM Theo Epstein and Assistant GM Ben Cherington. The decision is presented as a mutual agreement.
“I told them I thought it was time for a new voice,” said Francona.
Oct. 21, 2011
GM Theo Epstein resigns. He explains his decision in part by stating that he felt it important that Cherington -- already tabbed as his successor -- lead the search for Francona’s replacement.
Oct. 31, 2011
Phillies bench coach Pete Mackanin is brought in as first interviewee in managerial search.
"I hope it doesn't get to December. We'll see," GM Ben Cherington said of the search process.
Nov. 2, 2011
Brewers bench coach Dale Sveum interviews in Boston
Nov. 3, 2011
Ben Cherington joins Larry Lucchino on a trip to Hartford where Lucchino and Valentine are set to speak. Valentine was not in the initial group of candidates whom the Sox’ front office members intended to interview. Instead, he was viewed more along the lines of someone to keep in mind as the first round of conversations with candidates unfolded.
Nov. 7, 2011
Rangers pitching coach Mike Maddux, scheduled to interview with the Sox on Nov. 8, withdraws from the process.
Nov. 9, 2011
Sandy Alomar Jr. interviews
Nov. 11, 2011
Torey Lovullo interviews
Nov. 12, 2011
Gene Lamont interviews
Nov. 16, 2011
Red Sox owners interview Sveum at GM meetings in Milwaukee. After the meeting, the Sox are not prepared to make him an offer. Instead, Lucchino and Cherington suggest that the pool of candidates may broaden.
"I'm not dissatisfied with the candidates we have," Cherington said. "It's just we feel like there are some unique circumstances here. This is not just any manager's job. This is one where we do feel we're ready to win, and there are challenges related to what happened last year and just generally in the Boston market.”
Nov. 21, 2011
Valentine meets with members of the Red Sox front office for a day of interviews at Fenway Park. Lamont and Valentine -- the two candidates with prior managerial experience -- become the two finalists, a reflection of a shift in priorities and values over the course of the search, which began with the Sox feeling that experience was not a prerequisite.
Dec. 1, 2011
Valentine is officially introduced as Red Sox manager, agreeing to a two-year deal.
“I’m very confident that we found the right person in Bobby Valentine,” said Cherington. “When I started this process, I said that we were looking for someone who cared about players, who had a strong voice, who was willing to have difficult conversations with players, who could collaborate with the front office and with ownership. But also disagree and make strong arguments at the right time. someone who has a passion for the game. Someone who’s open minded. And someone who wants to win. Based on that criteria, I feel very strongly that we found the right person in Bobby Valentine.”
“It’s a special day,” said Valentine. "It’s more than a special day. It’s the beginning of a life that I think is going to extend beyond anything that I ever thought of doing. The talent, the players, the talent level, the players that we have in this organization I think is a gift to anyone. I’m a receiver of that gift.”
Dec. 7, 2011
Valentine talks to the media at the winter meetings. One of the topics relates to selecting his staff members, and whether he will retain then-third base coach Tim Bogar, hitting coach Dave Magadan and bullpen/catching coach Gary Tuck.
“When I was a baby manager, I was graced with a guy coming into my office to welcome me to this community. He was managing a team that was called the Dallas Cowboys, and he happened to be a friend of a friend of mine from Stanford, Connecticut. Tom Landry came in and shared an hour and a half, maybe two with me on I believe it was a Saturday afternoon before a Saturday night game. When he left he reached over to pick up his hat, and he looked over at me, and he said, ‘Bobby, the only bit of advice I'm going to give you is make sure your coaches speak your language.’
“And I think, again, everybody who was just being interviewed in that interview room, all those managers understand that their staff has got to be able to say your message in stereo, that they have to be part of your baseball world. And the first thing that's necessary is quality, and I think that the three guys we have here are being picked by me because there is quality in Tuck and Bogar and Magadan. And the next three, I'll have some say in.”
Valentine also mentions that he’s made some contact with pitcher Josh Beckett, whom he had criticized in 2011 while an analyst for ESPN.
“You know, I did reach out to Josh, and he didn't want me to say anything so I'm not going to say anything other than after he got through telling me how pissed off he was, we had a really good conversation,” said Valentine. “I'm not going to say anything about it.”
Dec. 23, 2011
Red Sox announce coaching staff: Pitching coach Bob McClure, assistant pitching coach Randy Niemann, first base coach Alex Ochoa, third base coach Jerry Royster. Tim Bogar, the third base coach under Francona, is named bench coach, while hitting coach Dave Magadan and bullpen/catching instructor Gary Tuck remain in their roles
On McClure: “I felt, as I told Bob right from the first interview, that he was right out in front of everyone else, and after all the other interviews came in, he remained at the top."
On Bogar: "Not only was there a desire that was expressed, but he convinced me that he was ready, able and willing to do as good a job as anybody out there. I was really confident after talking with him that the right thing for him and the organization was to get him in the dugout and working side by side."
February 26, 2012
Valentine bans beer in the home clubhouse and on the plane home on the last leg of a roadtrip. Former Red Sox manager Francona calls the ban a “PR move.” Valentine retorts, “Remember, you're getting paid over there for saying stuff, you get paid over here for doing stuff. I've done both.”
In a footnote, Valentine refers (for perhaps the first time) to reliever Matt Albers by calling him “Matt Alberts.” He will continue to refer to the reliever by the wrong name for the duration of the right-hander’s stint in Boston (which ends on July 31, with a trade to Arizona).
March 4, 2012
In response to a question about decision-making factors in building a lineup: “Of course, it’s one of the manager’s jobs to make those who are uncomfortable comfortable. And the other job is to make those that are too comfortable uncomfortable, I guess.”
March 10, 2012
Valentine suggests that it makes no sense to him that pitchers work out of the windup. Two days later, pitching coach Bob McClure offers a rebuttal.
“He wasn’t a pitcher,” added McClure, “so I don’t know if he’d understand that.”
March 19, 2012
After reliever Mark Melancon gives up three runs in an inning, Valentine assesses the performance by saying, “I thought he backed up the bases pretty well.” Melancon, however, later clarifies that Valentine was repeating a joke that the pitcher had made to his manager after his poor spring performance. The reliever dismisses the idea that the manager was being critical of him.
March 20, 2012
After Daniel Bard allows three runs in five innings, Valentine suggests that he is uncomfortable with the pitcher’s walks totals and notes that he “he’s got to understand” his changeup. Those comments, however, came before Valentine expressed such concerns to Bard; the pitcher appears to be caught off guard when asked about Valentine’s comments the next day.
March 21, 2012
Valentine says that he’s never criticized a player.
“A statement of fact should never be misconstrued as criticism. I don’t think it is, or should be. I don’t have time to deal with intelligence or morality. I can’t deal with those. If ignorant people misinterpret simple statements, it’s not my fault. If factual statements are misconstrued as criticism, that’s somebody else’s problem.
“If Daniel [Bard] or anybody else has three walks in an inning, and you say, ‘Three walks in an inning are too many,’ I can’t say that he only walked two, and I can’t say I didn’t recognize the three walks. The next time that anybody else walks three guys, he’s going to expect me to say the same thing.”
March 22, 2012
Valentine expresses unhappiness with the Yankees and manager Joe Girardi for leaving a spring training game after nine innings, after reliever Clayton Mortensen had warmed up and prepared to pitch for the top of the 10th.
"They had plenty of pitching," Valentine said. "The umpire came over and said we couldn't play. I don't care about not playing. It's just, 'Why do I have to warm up my pitcher, who's trying to make a team, come in in a tie game against the Yankees and maybe help him make a team -- and instead, he has to walk off the mound and take a shower?' That's just not very courteous."
March 24, 2012
A column says that there is growing evidence of a power struggle between Valentine and Cherington, particularly over whether Daniel Bard should start or relieve and whether Jose Iglesias or Mike Aviles should be shortstop.
"I think it's lazy journalism," said Valentine. "That's what I think. I think it's an easy story to write that has no validity."
March 30, 2012
Curt Schilling suggests that Bobby Valentine is not “the right fit” for the Red Sox, and says that things are going bad quickly. Valentine responds, “Consider the source.”
April 4, 2012
Valentine agrees to take part in a weekly radio show in New York.
April 15, 2012
Bobby Valentine, in an appearance on WHDH-TV, says of Kevin Youkilis:
“I don't think he's as physically or emotionally into the game as he has been in the past for some reason. But [on Saturday] it seemed, you know, he's seeing the ball well, got those two walks, got his on-base percentage up higher than his batting average, which is always a good thing, and he'll move on from there.”
April 16, 2012
Valentine, prior to the Patriots’ Day game against the Rays, addresses the storm created by his remarks about Youkilis.
"When he told me that people called him and said that I said things he didn't like, I totally apologized,” said Valentine. “I said, 'The last thing in the world I want you to think is I'm doing anything to criticize you. I was mentioning, giving an answer to a question, I should have been more specific and said, you know, 'Your physical is about your swing and your emotional is about not being happy when you don't hit a ball off the wall.' I don't know if he accepted my apology. It was very sincere.
"The last thing in the world I would want him to think is that this was anything but an answer to a question. It seemed the question was jabbing at him. I was just trying to smooth it over. I guess I didn't."
Second baseman Dustin Pedroia, widely considered to be the Sox's emotional leader, said nobody within the clubhouse has any issue with the way Youkilis plays the game.
"I know that Youk plays as hard as anyone I've ever seen in my life," Pedroia said. "I have his back, and his teammates have his back and we know how hard he plays. I don't really understand what Bobby's trying to do, but that's really not the way we go about our stuff here. I'm sure he'll figure that out soon. … Maybe [that works as motivation] in Japan or something, but over here in the U.S., we've got a three-game winning streak and we want to feel good and keep it rolling.”
That day, Valentine leaves Bard in to walk seven, including a walk with the bases loaded with two outs in the seventh to force in the only run of the game, in a 1-0 Sox loss to the Rays. This is the most glaring example of an April stretch in which Valentine seems to struggle with the timing of his decisions to move on from his starters.
Valentine pulls Bard after he’s walked in the winning run. The manager is booed.
April 21, 2012
The Red Sox blow a 9-1 lead in spectacular fashion en route to a 15-9 loss. Valentine is booed repeatedly on his way to and from the mound.
"I think we’ve hit bottom. That’s what I told them after the game," said Valentine. "You have to sometimes hit bottom and if this isn’t bottom, we’ll find some new ends to the earth I guess, or something."
He meets with GM Ben Cherinngton and team owners in his office after the game.
"Very satisfied," Cherington said when asked about Valentine's performance. "He makes the lineup out and he makes decisions during the game, as to who's coming in. The players will always influence wins and losses more than anybody else, and that's no different here. He's doing the best he can with the roster he has. It'll get better -- he knows that and I know that, and along the way, if changes need to be made on the roster, that's my responsibility."
-- Also that day, the New York Daily News reports of a “near player revolt [Valentine] had on his hands the very first week of spring training when … he got all over shortstop Mike Aviles in what sources described as “a very ugly scene” during infield drills. After a group of Red Sox players confronted him with outrage, Valentine had to apologize to Aviles.”
Valentine and Aviles deny the incident on April 24.
"I just heard about it," Valentine said. "It goes from the sublime to ridiculous, doesn't it, around here? Or around there?"
April 25, 2012
Valentine makes out a lineup that initially features Kelly Shoppach at catcher after mistakenly thinking that Twins starter Liam Hendricks is left-handed. He realizes his mistake and makes out a new lineup with Jarrod Saltalamacchia.
May 23, 2012
Red Sox beat the Orioles, 6-5. After the victory, Valentine volunteers that backup catcher Kelly Shoppach -- who homered in the win -- was upset that he hadn’t been used the previous day when a left-hander started in Baltimore. “Let it be known he came in yesterday and wondered why he wasn't playing. He left angry," Valentine said. "I like him playing when he's angry, I guess." Shoppach offers a brusque no comment when asked about his conversation with Valentine.
May 26, 2012
After benches empty between Red Sox and Rays after left-hander Franklin Morales hits Luke Scott with a pitch, Valentine blasts the behavior of Rays coaches, whom he suggested were “aggravating and agitating and instigating.”
"I took offense to the aggressiveness of their coaches. I thought it was very unprofessional and I really was proud of the way my coaches were trying to do what they were supposed to do in those situations. They seemed very immature and out of control."
May 30, 2012
Red Sox CEO/president Larry Lucchino praises Valentine as doing “an exceptional job, with the series of injuries he's had to deal with, the restructuring of the bullpen he's had to do. And a number of the calls he's made have proven to be really insightful and very helpful to the club sustaining itself around a .500 record so far."
June 16, 2012
Rookie Will Middlebrooks makes an error against the Cubs. As he returns to the dugout, Valentine sarcastically says, “Nice inning, kid.” The comment is brought to the attention of team owners and the general manager.
June 17, 2012
Buster Olney of ESPN describes the Red Sox clubhouse as “toxic.”
“It doesn't take long to ascertain that the Red Sox are a splintered group, with a lot of players and staff unhappy for a lot of different reasons,” Olney wrote. “If they do come back and make the playoffs, it's not going to be because of a united clubhouse. It's toxic -- but that doesn't mean they can't win.”
Sox players rebut the characterization (Josh Beckett called the depiction “completely fabrictated”), noting that the players get along extremely well.
Valentine responds, "I don't know how to define toxic. It's too big a word for me. But I'm not going to comment on people's articles. I don't even comment on [the Boston media's] articles. Why would I comment on someone that I don't think knows anything?"
June 22-23, 2012
Increasingly, Kevin Youkilis is losing playing time to Will Middlebrooks. Valentine says that based on a conversation about the matter, Youkilis appears to accept why the redistribution of playing time is occurring. One day later, Youkilis denies that there was ever a conversation on the matter.
"There was no conversation, and I'll leave it at that," said Youkilis. "I don't want to start up anything, I just ... there was no conversation. That was it. It has been addressed."
Apprised of Youkilis’ comments, Valentine suggests that he thought the corner infielder had discussed the situation with a member of the coaching staff.
"I didn't speak to him. I thought he was spoken to. If he wasn't spoken to and he didn't understand, I made a mistake. And you know, somehow in life, we all make mistakes. But I thought he was spoken to."
Valentine also defended his decision to keep starting Middlebrooks while sitting Youkilis.
"I'm just trying to play the people I want to be in the lineup," Valentine said. "I think that's one of the things I'm allowed to do."
July (around the All-Star break)
A picture circulates in major league circles via text, featuring Red Sox second baseman sticking out his tongue and holding two thumbs up while standing next to a sleeping Valentine in the trainer’s room. “Our manager contemplating his lineup at 3:30 p.m.,” reads the message.
July 10, 2012
Bud Selig criticizes Pelotero, a documentary on the amateur signing process in the Dominican Republic for which Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine served as executive producer, as inaccurate, dated and unfair.
July 13, 2012
An ESPNBoston.com report details the communication disconnects all over the organization, whether between Valentine and player or the manager and his own coaches. Dustin Pedroia tells WEEI.com that the team “is trying to win for Bobby.”
July 15, 2012
With Youkilis returning to Boston with the White Sox, Valentine suggests that Youkilis overreacted to his April comment.
"I wasn't here last year, and there was no friction in Spring Training,” said Valentine. “I think that the comment that I made early, he made a big issue out of, and I don't think he ever wanted to get over it."
July 21, 2012
Valentine volunteers that Beckett “warms up earlier than anyone in the history of baseball” while assessing the pitcher’s first-inning struggles. “Now, the question would be, should he warm up later? Maybe. But this is a dog that is hard to teach a new trick to.”
July 22, 2012
Jon Lester is pounded for 11 runs in four-plus innings.
July 26, 2012
Red Sox owners meet with players in the Palace Hotel in New York to listen to grievances. Under Terry Francona, managers customarily took part in these meetings. On this occasion, Valentine is not invited.
July 28, 2012
Valentine suggests that Carl Crawford is on a trainer-imposed schedule in which the outfielder -- as he recovers from an elbow strain that will ultimately require Tommy John surgery -- cannot play more than four straight days. Valentine acknowledges that he ignored that regulation initially upon Crawford’s return.
“I did a manager no-no thing and went against what I was told to do. Never to be done again,” said Valentine.
Asked if he was “not wild about the idea,” Valentine responded curiously.
"I'm wild ... I'm not wild. Da da da. I'd like to have Carl every day," Valentine said. "I'd like to have all my good players every day, but I understand the situation better now than I did then. … Oh boy, why did I do this? They did. They told me before that game that he wasn’t playing, and I kind of did the old veto power. ‘Who says he's not playing?’ And I played him.”
On the same day, Terry Francona enters the Red Sox clubhouse and holds court with a number of players on the team, a form of interaction almost never seen during the season between Valentine and his players.
August 1, 2012
In a WEEI interview, Valentine makes mention of the Middlebrooks exchange, and acknowledges that team officials who were apprised of player displeasure with his remark discussed the matter with him. One day later, he will call the unsolicited narrative the dumbest thing he has ever said in a radio interview.
In that same radio interview, Valentine references a period when pitching coach Bob McClure was “on his two-week vacation. I’m sorry, not vacation, his two weeks away from the team.” McClure had taken a leave of absence in order to attend to a medical condition of one of his newborn twins.
Valentine also takes some shots at ESPN analyst Buster Olney, who earlier in the day had described ongoing clubhouse discontent.
"Why don't we hear about Kirk Gibson and how many of the players don't like him or about Jim Leyland and who's upset with Jim Leyland's pitching moves? This is absolutely ridiculous, but I think it's good drama so let's keep the ball rolling and maybe it will get Buster more air time."
August 3, 2012
Valentine says that catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia was not available or at the park due to an ear infection. A somewhat vexed Saltalamacchia clarifies the next day that he had food poisoning, while also expressing some bemusement that no one has talked to him about what appears to be a redistribution of the catching workload.
Aug. 6, 2012
Red Sox owner John Henry and GM Ben Cherington say that Bobby Valentine won’t be fired, but no one says whether he will remain with the Sox beyond 2012.
“I've gotten questions about Bobby and about ownership from you so I'll say the following on the record,” Henry wrote in an email. “To blame Bobby Valentine for the Red Sox being .500 at this point in the season is simply wrong. A lot has been written about injuries to key players this year. The impact of that on the Sox this year should not be discounted.
“In baseball, managers often get too much credit and too much blame for what happens on the field. That seems to be a constant. There is often the thought in organizations, ‘This isn't working so the manager needs to go.’
“But an organization is much more than the field manager. We all share responsibility for the success and failure of the Boston Red Sox. We are not making a change in manager.”
August 14, 2012
Yahoo! Sports breaks the story of the players’ meeting with the owners, suggesting:
"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 perception that Valentine is being scapegoated unfairly to divert attention from mediocre performances by star players exists among some players, according to sources."
While some details of the report are characterized as exaggerated or inaccurate, the repercussions sweep through the Red Sox clubhouse.
Dustin Pedroia tells reporters that he did not ask for Valentine to be fired.
“I've had one problem with Bobby earlier in the year and I went into his office and I 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 and play for him any day of the week. I'm playing for all my teammates. 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 right, and just play winning baseball. It's tough when all this stuff comes out, that everyone's trying to get the manager fired. That's not the case, man. I've never met the guy that wrote the story. That's about it."
When asked about potential changes for the Red Sox, who were 57-60, Pedroia stated his support for Valentine.
"I don't think Bobby should be fired," he said. "Listen, we haven't played well. I mean, that's the bottom line. I'm not going to blame anything on Bobby, and I don't think anyone else is. It's on the players. Last year wasn't on Tito [Francona]. I know he took it hard. We all did. I mean, jeez. It's on the players."
August 15, 2012
Henry issues a statement in which he says that no one in the meeting in New York called for Valentine to be fired.
“What Tom [Werner], Larry [Lucchino] 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.”
August 18, 2012
Valentine offers the following self-assessment of his performance: “As far as my job’s concerned, whether I’m doing a good job, I’m not doing a good job. I didn’t get paid to do anything other than get to the playoffs, win a lot of games, be in the thick of things right down to the end, even be in first place. The team I’m managing is not there. My job has not been a good job, if I had to assess. But that’s not what I do. It's not my job."
Several articles that weekend suggest (without quoting Valentine) that the manager was placed in a situation doomed to fail, particularly given that he did not get to pick his own coaching staff (this suggestion is made most frequently with relation to pitching coach McClure and bench coach Bogar; with the latter, it is worth noting that Valentine interviewed Blue Jays first base coach Torey Lovullo in person to discuss the bench coach position before selecting Bogar).
August 19, 2012
A New York Daily News report suggests that former Sox catcher Kelly Shoppach used the phone of Adrian Gonzalez in order to send a text message to owners requesting the meeting with players. Shoppach subsequently denies the report, as do multiple team sources who participated in the meeting.
August 20, 2012
McClure is fired as pitching coach. One day later, asked if McClure was his choice as pitching coach, Valentine says that the Sox “were running out of time” in the interview process and “he was the best candidate out there. … If that means he was my choice, he was my choice. I didn’t have someone I was going to take over him.”
-- Valentine tells ESPNNewYork.com: "I've done a lot of work; I couldn't do any more. … I don't think I could've worked any harder. I probably could've done some things differently, I guess, but I don't know what they are. I'll appraise it and I'll look back on it."
August 25, 2012
At a time when the Sox have fallen out of contention, the Red Sox and Dodgers consummate the blockbuster that ships Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford and Nick Punto to Los Angeles.
Asked if he felt change was necessary, Valentine says it was, without going into specifics.
“Just didn't seem like it mixed as well it should,” said Valentine. “It's change. That's why I was hired, cause change is necessary. When you get an opportunity for change, you change and see if that's the change you needed, I guess.
-- Also on August 25: Alfredo Aceves is suspended three games by the team for tearing off his jersey in the bullpen while watching Andrew Bailey close a victory the previous night.
August 31, 2012
Valentine shows up at 4:19 p.m. on the night of a 7:10 p.m. game after picking up his son at the San Francisco airport. Valentine later explained that the flight was late and he got caught in traffic.
Sept. 1, 2012
Valentine features Scott Podsednik in the third spot in the lineup, the first time in the outfielder’s big league career that he has been put in such a position.
"Just a mistake,” says Valentine. “Is that what it says on the lineup? What the (expletive), switch it up. Who knows? Maybe it will look good. I haven't seen it.''
-- In the same game, Alfredo Aceves – pitching for the fourth time in five days, a span during which he throws 143 pitches – gets into a dugout argument with Dustin Pedroia. He brushes aside Valentine when the manager nears the exchange.
-- Also on Sept. 1, Red Sox chairman Tom Werner, in an interview with the Boston Globe, praises GM Ben Cherington and says that he will be with the Sox “for a long time.” Asked about Valentine’s shelf life, Werner says, “I don’t really want to go there.”
Sept. 4, 2012
Red Sox owner John Henry and GM Ben Cherington both join the club in Seattle, and there is a sense that Valentine might be fired. He is not. Instead, Valentine meets Henry for breakfast, but tells reporters that he remains “resolute” that Valentine will not be fired during the season.
Sept. 5, 2012
Valentine tells WEEI host Glenn Ordway, after being asked whether he had “checked out” on the season, replies, “What an embarrassing thing to say. If I were there right now, I'd punch you right in the mouth. Ha, ha. How's that sound? Is that like I checked out? What an embarrassing thing.”
He goes on to declare the season “miserable” and “lousy.”
Sept. 7, 2012
On NESN, Valentine says that he has faced “guys with agendas and they’ve made it personal.” He also says that the Red Sox, during a 1-8 roadtrip, “just played up to our talent.”
"It's always been personal. All year, it's been personal," said Valentine. "But when you start dealing with integrity, start dealing with whether I'm a truthful person, whether I'm going to give a full day's work, and then when it comes to dealing with my family and how much they mean to me or should mean to me, that's over the line, and I'm not going to take it here in the dugout and I won't take it on a radio or TV show, thank you very much."
Valentine added that he does believe that the criticisms of him take a different form than do those directed at his managerial peers.
"I don't think it's personal with a lot of managers. But with me, there's guys with agendas and they've made it personal, but who cares? I'm all ready for that. I've been there, done that," Valentine told Caron. "I understand little people. I understand agendas. I've learned, in my life, to live with that -- not here in Boston; my whole life."
Valentine also discussed the Sox' recent 1-8 roadtrip, suggesting that it represented a roster that "just played up to our talent. A lot of times, we were just a little short."
Sept. 8, 2012
Valentine tells the Boston Herald that the 2012 season is “a perfect storm that I kind of flew into the middle of. As good as I am, I couldn’t even create this kind of mess. I could never have anticipated all the things that happened. No one could have, the whole situation. There are situations, and I think a lot of them have been dealt with. A lot of them have been taken care of.
“And somebody had to be here while they were all taken care of. It wasn’t so enjoyable and it wasn’t predicted.”
He suggests that the team has been playing short-handed for much of the season, with 24- and “even 20-“ man rosters. He also says that while he tunes out the negative media coverage of the team, the players and front office -- perhaps to the detriment of the team -- do not.
“I don’t read everything, but I hear about a lot of things. I don’t hear about everything. And maybe that’s been a problem. I think the players read so much. And the front office. Read every blog, and Twitter, and they get so caught up in it that I think a lot of time (the players) think I know what’s running through their minds and when I don’t address it they think that I’m callous or I’m not caring, where I don’t know. And I believe things I should get from the players should come from the players. From what I observe, from what they tell me.
“I don’t like the idea of getting it from the press. Or even from the front office. I don’t mind getting it from the coaches, because I think that’s the line of communication that works best.”
Sept. 12, 2012
Valentine, in his weekly interview on WEEI, said that he wasn’t to blame for the struggles of Kevin Youkilis.
"Youk is a dead situation, so let's not drag that through the mud again," Valentine said. But when asked about the players who were no longer with the team, Valentine had more to say.
"Just for the record, If you're going to bring up Youk, I'm going to say this about Youk," Valentine said. "What was he hitting when he left here? 238. When he left here, the reason he was hitting .238 is because I really affected him negatively. I was the root cause of his not performing well. Since he's been with Chicago he's hitting .238. I just want to make it clear that the cause of him hitting .238 was not me."
At the time, Youkilis actually hit .233 with the Red Sox and his average was .234 in Chicago, although he has raised his on-base and slugging percentages considerably with the White Sox. His OPS was .692 in Boston and .791 in Chicago.
Sept. 14, 2012
Valentine is asked whether the Sox could use additional call-ups to reinforce the roster.
"Are you kidding? This is the weakest roster we've ever had in September in the history of baseball. It could use help everywhere."
Sept. 16, 2012
Valentine pinch-hits in the middle of an at-bat for Jose Iglesias, sending Daniel Nava to the plate with a runner on second and two outs with a 2-2 count after Pedro Ciriaco steals second.
September 26, 2012
Valentine, prior to the Sox’ final home game of the season, is asked what he’s learned about himself during the 2012 season.
"I don't know about learning about myself. I have the gas masks. I can handle the chemical weapons. The bullets penetrated but they didn't kill me. I guess I'm, what do I know about myself? I'm almost a year older. I know that. And it's gone quickly," he said.
“Not much I would have done differently, I don't think. Other than I think I would have kept the beer in the clubhouse. I think I could have used it after a few of these games this year.”
September 27, 2012
Red Sox GM Ben Cherington tells WEEI that he hopes to spend less time on a manager search this coming winter than he did last offseason. The remark is widely interpreted as confirmation that Valentine will be out after the 2012 season. Cherington later clarifies that the Sox still have not made a decision about Valentine’s future beyond 2012, noting that if no change was made, he would achieve the goal of less time spent on a search.
September 30, 2012
The Red Sox reach the 90-loss plateau for the first time since 1966.
"Every loss hurts. All 90 of them,” said Valentine.
October 2, 2012
Valentine gets into a minor bike accident while reading a text from Dustin Pedroia in which the second baseman said that he would play despite a broken finger.
October 3, 2012
Asked if he felt the Red Sox' coaching staff and those around him have been loyal to him during the course of the season, Valentine responded, "No."
Asked why, Valentine said, "You asked me what I feel. That's what I feel."
In response to a follow-up about whether he felt he was undermined by them, to which Valentine responded "Yes." Asked why, Valentine again said, "[It's] just what I feel."
-- In that same WEEI interview, Valentine, in response to a question about what he’s done well, says, “I protected my players as well as anyone could have imagined.”
-- In his pregame session with the media, Valentine declines to identify specific instances in which he felt undermined by his coaches. He does say that he felt the complete backing of the owners and GM Ben Cherington. “I had every opportunity and succeed, and didn't,” he said.
-- Asked to enumerate any regrets, Valentine says that he wouldn’t have made the comments about Youkilis and he would have planned differently for the season-opening bullpen uncertainty.
-- GM Ben Cherington says that he won’t discuss Valentine’s future beyond the end of the season, which has one game left. Asked about Valentine’s remarks on the coaching staff, Cherington says that the manager never expressed those concerns to him.