Enough with the blowhard managers

Bobby Valentine, being Bobby Valentine, spouted off about Kevin Youkilis‘ game prep to the Boston Globe‘s Pete Abraham:

I don’t think he’s as physically or emotionally into the game as he has been in the past for some reason.

Anyone expecting him not to say things like this doesn’t understand Valentine’s M.O. He’s bombastic, confrontational and publicity-seeking. In other words, he’s Boston’s version of Ozzie Guillen. You know Guillen, the guy who recently said he loves and respects Cuban dictator Fidel Castro.

I get that these two managers enjoy stirring the pot. They love to be the center of attention. They prefer to call our their players in the media instead of addressing their issues face-to-face in the privacy of the clubhouse. What I don’t get is why, at least regarding that last point.

Sure, generating controversy boosts their notoriety and helps land them broadcast gigs when they’re not in the dugout. That’s smart (if annoying) business, helping set them up professionally and financially when their managerial schticks finally wear out their welcome.

But embarrassing their players in public, as Valentine just did and Guillen often did in Chicago, serves only to create a divide between themselves and their players. Who wants to listen to a manager who questions your integrity in public? Who wants to play for a manager who doesn’t have your back?

I know these antics bring attention to a team, and as the old saying goes, there’s no such thing as bad publicity. And plenty of people seem to revel in these controversies. But it seems the negative impact of this behavior in the clubhouse—and by extension, the playing field— would outweigh the positive impact of a few more ears and eyeballs focused on the team.

I guess what I’m trying to say is, I wish Valentine and Guillen would just shut up.

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  1. Ashley said...

    Well said Greg! I could not believe it when Boston hired Valentine. Especially after all the trouble they were already having in the clubhouse. They need someone who. An lead their team.

  2. Bruce Markusen said...

    Valentine’s antics are likely bad for the Red Sox, but this is a wonderful development for baseball. I think it’s great for managers to have some personality, to exhibit some bombast, to be colorful and outgoing. There are too many Ned Yosts and Brad Mills and (up until recently) Ken Machas in the contemporary game

    Far too many managers have become corporate yes men, who just do what their bosses—and the Sabermetric spreadsheets—tell them to do. That might be efficient, but it’s as dull as can be.

  3. Jim G. said...

    I agree with Bruce. And there’s players (and fans) who despise that list of managers, as well.  (It also underscores how many in Milwaukee are enjoying Ron Roenicke.)
    I take the Guillen and Valentine fiascos as entirely different. Anyone who puts stock in a baseball manager as a statesman of international politics gets what they deserve. The other hung one of his own players out to dry.

  4. Mitch said...

    Valentine, the Red Sox, ESPN, et al. are all getting exactly what they wanted: an excuse to talk about the Red Sox. Youkilis and Pedroia are probably in on it too.

  5. Bob M said...

    I am a New Englander with ties to Boston who is still apoplectic that the Red Sox hired Valentine. He tries to present himself as a guy who is a real blood and guts type; however, I believe that a lot of us see through the act, and instead see someone who is extremely self-centered and really doesn’t care about anyone else’s feelings. Having watched Youkilis since his days at Double A Portland, I can say, without reservation, that he truly , truly cares about his game to a fault. Kevin’s intensity is off the charts, and that is something that is oft times discussed in the the Boston print, radio and TV media. For Valentine to make that statement, and, by the way, make up a weak, specious statement of apology and “what I really meant by it” is a measure of just how uncaring and ego driven he really is. Dustin Pedroia, whose caring approach is beyond reproach, has gone on record as saying that he and the other players have Youkilis’ back. I don’t think that “Bobby V” is going to last for long in Boston- at least I hope not.

  6. Paul Delmolino said...

    Poor crybaby ballplayers. Making millions for playing a kids game. After last year’s epic collapse, the players needed a good kick in the ass and Valentine is just the guy for the job. Of course he’s got an ego we all know that. He’s had plenty of success even in Japan but sometimes his type tend to wear out their welcome in due time.
      All the players are hyper-sensitive in lieu of what happened down the stretch. He’s banned alcohol in the clubhouse and if the boys want to be treated like adults they should act accordingly. Francona did lose control of the clubhouse but the players couldn’t police themselves and this is the result. Get a thicker skin, suck it up and start hitting your weight and nobody will notice. This is Boston after all not some out of the way cowtown where nobody cares or notices.

  7. Danil Phil said...

    Not an unusual incident for a team! It happens almost in every team to make clash between players and manager but the promising news is it’s closed finally. Good luck for both Valentine and Guillen.
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