ESPN's Tim Kurkjian joined Mut & Merloni Wednesday to offer his thoughts about Red Sox spring training. New manager Bobby Valentine has come in and made some changes in the team's approach to the preseason, and Kurkjian said that some of those changes haven't been as well-received by all the players.
"I think he's doing the right thing. I think it's something that he has to do," Kurkjian said. "Overall, it's going just OK, from what I can see. My warning -- if that's the right term -- to all the Red Sox players is, Bobby Valentine is first and foremost a teacher. He is not going to allow somebody to say something or, more important, do something incorrectly and then get away with it. Bobby is going to correct them no matter who they are, and it's going to be done his way.
"When I say that, trust me when I tell you this: His way is the right way. He's going to teach them the way to get a secondary lead, how to do cutoffs and relays, and if they don't listen to him, he's going to keep harping on it. And the teaching is not going to end in spring training. It is going to go through the rest of the season. All Red Sox fans and players should understand that this is going to continue, and yet they will never -- never -- be outfoxed in a game as long as Bobby Valentine is managing."
Asked to further explain his comment that "it's going just OK," Kurkjian said: "That's what I sense, is that the players didn't know what to make of Bobby yet. And Bobby didn't know what to make of the Red Sox system yet. Now, this is probably all normal and natural for a guy who's coming in making some changes, hasn't managed in the major leagues in 10 years. All of this is expected.
"And yet, I think it's been even more confusing for some of the players, like, 'Why are we doing this?' I'm telling you, though, eventually, whether it's late in spring training or that game in early May, they're going to look back and say, 'That's why we did that in spring training. We just got an out on a play because we were prepared for it.' Bobby will have them prepared for everything. And again, if they don't like it, I don't think he cares about that. He's going to get it right, no matter what. Even is some of the players are wondering, 'What are we doing here?' "
Outfielder Carl Crawford is looking to bounce back from a disappointing 2011 season, his first in Boston after signing as a free agent. Kurkjian said he does not have high expectations.
"I'm hopelessly positive about things, but I don't think he's in the right place right now -- not meaning Boston. I mean, I think at this point he's going to have a similar year to last year, as opposed to those really good years in Tampa Bay," Kurkjian said. "As we know, this guy's all about comfort, he's all about trust. At least that's what the Rays people have told me. And if he's not comfortable and he doesn't trust the people around him -- meaning all the people around him -- he's not going to be the player that he needs to be.
"I didn't sense from spring training that he was in the right place mentally. He is going to have to be if he's going to be a different player than last year. You guys saw it: He was tentative in the outfield. He was tentative on the bases. Nobody that fast should be stealing [only] 18 bases in a season. And he didn't swing the bat like he did in Tampa Bay, either. He is crucial to this team being a really good team. One through six in this order should be the best in the American League, but only if he's the 2 hitter and the Carl Crawford from Tampa Bay. And I'm not sure he's that guy right now."
Following are more highlights from the conversation.
On the difference in Valentine's managerial style from his rookie season to now: "He's just smarter certainly than he was back then. He was young, he was impulsive, and even though he still believes he's the smartest guy in the room, now he has a more diplomatic way of going about explaining that. So, even though he'll yell at a player now and show some frustration, he has grown up to the point to understand that the players have changed dramatically from 1985 to 2012, and that dealing with the players is now -- he has to be more than just a teacher, he has to be a master psychologist to figure out, 'How am I going to get the best out of these guys?' That's what I think he's learned. And this thought that he's going to come in and just push everybody around, that simply is not going to happen. He's going to push, but when he realizes, 'If I push this guy too hard he's not going to respond,' that's what Bobby has learned in the last 27 years."
On shortstop Jose Iglesias: "I don't think he's going to be the starting shortstop. That's certainly not what I gathered with my one day [at spring training] with the Red Sox -- that he's going to Triple-A and he needs to work on what he can do at the plate. With this lineup you would think you could flip him in there, tell him to hit .190 and we're going to be fine. But at the same time, he needs some more seasoning. And that's why Mike Aviles is there. That's why Nick Punto is there."
Pete and Chris are live in Foxborough to preview the Pats and Rams today. They kick things off discussing the injury to Rob Gronkowski and what it means going forward for his career, his status with the Patriots and how the Patriots will cope with the loss.
Patriots DB Duron Harmon joined Glenn, Lou, and Christian, and he discussed the team needing to come together after losing Gronk, and the turnovers in the Jets game can propel them to create more turnovers.
We check in with former Patriot Heath Evans, now with the NFL Network, for his complete analysis on the win over the Jets in NY.
WEEI.com's Mike Petraglia and Ben Kichen of the 'Dale and Holley Show' talk about what the Celtics will need to do in order to be considered one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference along with the Cavs.
WEEI's Mike Petraglia talks with Josue Pavon about how the Celtics are looking better with Al Horford back on the court and the overall toughness of this team.
Mike Petraglia and Ben Kichen preview the Celtics season. Will Jaylen Brown be an impact rookie and prove he was the right pick at #3? Will the Celtics win the Atlantic Division? Is the season a failure if the Celtics don't advance past the first round of the playoffs?
Mut, Bradford, and Tomase talk with Curt Schilling to get his reaction to Dan Shaughnessy and Jon Heyman's comments about not voting for Curt for the Hall of Fame again based on some of Schilling's comments on social media.
Mut, Bradford, and Tomase are taking some calls and reaction to their interview with Curt Schilling in regards to Major League Baseball's Hall of Fame voting. We also hear about Rob's upcoming working vacation to the Dominican Republic for the David Ortiz Charity Golf Classic.
Mut, Bradford, and Tomase are talking about Dan Shaughnessy's column about how he would no longer vote for Curt Schilling for the Hall of Fame. They then talk with Curt Schilling getting his thoughts on the whole situation and whether he would rather make the HoF or the Senate.
Hour two of Saturday Skate after a Bruins 2-1 over Buffalo, with Ken Laird and Rear Admiral debating the status of Krejci, Chara, Krug and Bergeron.
The first hour of Saturday Skate starts up against the third period of Bruins - Sabres, so Ken Laird and Rear Admiral give some Red Sox hot stove and Rob Gronkowski thoughts before moving into Bruins - Sabres game reaction
Ken Laird and Ty Anderson chat Bruins after a 2-1 win in Florida improved the team's record to 5-4.
Damien Woody joined K&C and shared a story regarding a conversation he had with Bill Belichick in the training room in Foxboro.
In the 9 am hour Gerry and Kirk mocked the Belichick press conference and took a call from Jim the Wrestling Goon who is not a fan of Amani Toomer.
In the 8 am hour Gerry and Kirk talked about a brutal answer by Dan Shaughnessy regarding Bill Conlin'sn spot in the Hall of Fame.
Glenn, Lou, and Christian are less than surprised that Bill Belichick won't comment further about Gronk than the released statement. Speaking of statements, how weird is it that the Gronkowski family is releasing joint statements with the Patriots?
Orthopedic surgeon to the pros, Dr. Thomas Gill of Steward Health Care joins Glenn, Lou, and Christian in the wake of Gronk's back injury. He talks about different types of disc injuries, and one type of fusion which could potentially prevent Gronk from playing football. He also commented on the unique situation of a joint statement between the Patriots and the Gronkowskis, and clarified his role in Gronk's arm surgeries.
Glenn, Lou, and Christian wonder how the man who shot former NFL RB Joe McKnight can be free of charges and walking around the streets of New Orleans.
Dale and Michael check in with the playmaker Michael Irvin on a Friday.
We open it up in the final portions of hours 3 and 4 on a Friday.
Hour two in it's entirety.
Kirk Minihane, WEEI Podcast King, talks to the Podcast Godfather Adam Carolla about his new documentary about Le Mans, the backlash from the Election, and his time with Donald Trump on the Apprentice. The audio quality isn't great but the conversation is.
Kirk Minihane is a non-believer, Larry Johnson is a preacher, when Larry found Kirk doesn't believe in God he challenged Kirk to allow him on to the podcast to talk about religion and faith. Kirk and Larry have a tremendous conversation about God and Larry tries to convert Kirk into a believer.
Kirk Minihane sits down with Barstool Sports contributor and podcast host John Feitelberg. Kirk and Feitelberg talk about the rise of barstool, the sale of the website, what it is like to work for Dave Portnoy, and their live podcast shows at the Wilbur Theater.
Ben, Alex, and Russ talk about how Toronto winning the MLS cup will be best for the league, the FIFA Player of the Year award, and the tragedy in Brazil.
Ken Laird and Chris Curtis finish out the week recapping the Friday edition of Kirk and Callahan, with critiques of Dale & Holley's Keefe announcement and more.
Kirk & Callahan producers Ken Laird and Chris Curtis are back together after a few days apart to dish about all things K&C show, this after a Thursday Reim-Job.
In the 7 am hour Gerry and Kirk discussed the hiring of Rich Keefe and the announcement yesterday on Dale and Holley.More from this show
In the 9 am hour Gerry and Kirk mocked the Belichick press conference and took a call from Jim the Wrestling Goon who is not a fan of Amani Toomer.More from this show
The worst kept secret in the city is now official - welcome aboard Rich Keefe.More from this show
In the 8 am hour Gerry and Kirk talked about a brutal answer by Dan Shaughnessy regarding Bill Conlin'sn spot in the Hall of Fame.More from this show