|Valentine’s Day for the Red Sox||| Print ||
Written by Jim Mancari (Contact & Archive) on December 07, 2011
After an almost nine-year hiatus from an MLB dugout, Bobby Valentine is back as a manager.
On Dec. 1, the Boston Red Sox introduced "Bobby V" as the 45th manager in franchise history. He received a two-year contract with options for 2014 and 2015.
The 61-year-old has 15 years of MLB managing experience, eight with the Texas Rangers and seven with the New York Mets. He currently owns an 1117-1072 (.510) career record.
Valentine has only had two postseason appearances: 1999, when he led the Mets to an NLCS loss to the Atlanta Braves, and 2000, when the Mets lost in the World Series to the New York Yankees.
Before taking a job as an ESPN analyst for Sunday Night Baseball last season, Valentine managed the Chibe Lotte Marines in the Japan. He was a national hero there and was treated almost like a rock star. While he was always a fan-favorite in New York, it was nothing like his time in Japan.
The Red Sox sought a manager with fire and passion to inspire his players to play better over the entire season rather than experience another late-season collapse. Valentine will be a good remedy for the team's needs.
He'll be quick to come out of the dugout to protect his players and to give an umpire a piece of his mind. The team must channel its manager's energy to return to its winning ways.
Valentine's passion for the game was the defining factor that made Mets fans love him. He even famously returned to the dugout after being ejected from a game wearing a fake moustache disguise. Even getting ejected doesn't keep him away from the game he loves.
Mets fans clamored to bring Bobby V back as their manager prior to the 2011 season, but Valentine claimed he was not ready to manage just yet. He instead took the job with ESPN. During the season, as the Florida Marlins spiraled into the cellar of the NL East, Valentine was rumored as a possible candidate to take over but nothing became of these rumors.
But now, Valentine officially has his chance to re-assert himself as one of the game's top managers. In his press conference, he said he understands the rivalries, the history and the talent of his new team.
Unlike many new managers who take over a team, Valentine has the luxury of having an extremely talented roster. Adrian Gonzalez, Dustin Pedroia, Kevin Youkilis, Jacoby Ellsbury, Carl Crawford, Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz and Josh Beckett highlight a roster that was the pre-season pick to represent the AL in the World Series in 2011. But a September swoon sent Boston home early.
The Red Sox will likely look to add at least one more starting pitcher and an outfielder. The team also lost closer Jonathan Papelbon to the Phillies.
While managing in Japan is not exactly the MLB, Valentine has all the tools to lead a Red Sox revival. Think of it this way: If Bobby V could lead the Mets of the late 1990s to the World Series, imagine what he can with a Red Sox team that would have easily defeated those Mets teams.
Red Sox fans should be excited for their new manager. At least Valentine will have a chance -- make that 19 chances during the regular season -- to get his revenge against the Yankees.