I have to admit. When I first heard last year that Bobby Valentine was in consideration and then later received the nod as skipper from the Council (Henry, Lucchino, Werner) I was shocked. Not convinced he was the best, most experienced man for the job. I knew he was a former player that played hard. Suffered a career changing injury and at one point and played most positions on the field in his playing career. I knew he had seen success at different levels. He was colorful on ESPN. I didn't know how liked he was in Asia until I looked closer at his career. What I did know about him was his ability to make a headline. Who could forget when back in 2009 as the Mets skipper, he got tossed from an extra inning game, returned wearing a different cap, moustache and a T-shirt probably purchased from a fan who since that night has a story to tell at poker games for life. How was he going to do in Boston? Francona was a beloved coach who did not leave on the best of terms. Red Sox Nation and players alike will hold him in high regard longer then they suffered "The Course". The fans in Asia loved their El Bigote . At one point in Korea, the followers of his managed team "The Chiba Lotte Marines" (loose translation= El bigotudo Salvador), took up a petition to keep him on as manager as he was at odds with his teams management. You see, he likes to say what's on his mind. If you ask him a question you had best be sure you want to know the honest answer Because Bobby V will give it to you. Then flash a smile at you from ear to ear. Was the high Council (Henry, Lucchino, Werner), making the right decision? I mean he's not getting any real power? He had to keep on most of the current coaching staff and had high payroll players that the year before were either injured or underachieved. Plus they all seemed to like fried chicken beer and X-box. Can’t be bad guys? What 9 year old Little Leaguer wouldn't want a video game system and access to food in their clubhouse? No, El Bigote seemed very much the opposite of Francona. Was that why they were hiring him? Did The Council feel the clubhouse needed someone with a little more "Speak loud AND swing a big stick"? Was The Council looking to stir things up a little in their clubhouse? Perhaps The Council thought, "Let's just give him the ingredients, ask him to supply the recipe and see if he can cook up a tasty playoff run". (Now where have I heard that before?) Sounds good right? The Council is the guys that brought you Theo? They can do it again and keep Bobby reigned in. When he was hired were the last words they said to him "Please don't do or say anything dumb?" I hope not. Because, where's the fun in that? “Oh, and by the way Mr. Valentine, if the season looks like it’s getting out of hand we may just try and strike a deal that will send one of your most productive hitters out of town." Don't get me wrong, the deal with the Dodgers in my humble opinion was well played. It freed up a lot of cash and sent packing Crawford and Beckett. Bonus I mean who would take those two without Gonzales anyway? El Bigote was given a diverse mixture of good, old and damaged produce and was asked to make a fresh fruit salad. As long as it didn’t stink right? Well, the great Council was wrong. All they got out of their chef/skipper was a stinky, sour mix. Not close to what they had hoped for in spring training. "Why didn't it work?" The Council must be thinking. It went just fine with the Patriots and that guy that used to coach with Belichick. You know, El Atun? Let's just give him the ingredients and let him make the dinner. FAIL. As a result there is a revolt in Red Sox Nation and El Bigote was rumored to be fired on a recent, "Did that really just happen", West coast trip. Then it all blew up on Boston sports radio. Let’s all just cut Bobby V some slack. Keep him on for another year. Give El Bigote the keys to the car, let him drive to the store and pick out some of his own ingredients. Coaches and players alike. Give him all the rope to either hang himself or lasso this team and Red Sox Nation in. I mean, who reading this has never wanted to punch a member of the Boston sports media in the mouth?
written by: Harry Cumming