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December 1, 2011

Bobby V. has chance to fix his own legacy

The dog and pony show the last three weeks at Fenway Park was boring.

Most of the guys the Red Sox management traipsed in for interviews seemed like good, knowledgeable baseball people.

That was the problem. They needed much more than that.

Enter Bobby Valentine.

The new Red Sox manager fits all of the criteria needed to fix what ails this franchise. He has charisma. He is a leader. He knows the game. He uses - not abuses - statistics. And he can handle this job, in this passionate market.

Before people start saying Valentine will be a quick burst of energy but really is an interim manager until John Farrell or Joe Maddon become available ... not so fast.

If you read my piece yesterday about former Red Sox pitcher Nate Minchey, who played for Valentine in Japan for one season in 2004, you probably have concerns, particularly the inference by Minchey that Valentine is more of a snake oil salesmen than molder of young men.

I believe much of what Minchey said was true. I'll bet Valentine, who has a storied history of battles with his superiors, was not an easy guy to play for if you weren't his kind of player, whatever that means.

That's OK. That was in the past. That is part of Valentine's legacy.

The good news, for Red Sox fans, is this is Valentine's last hope to be considered a "great" manager. Trust me, that is important with him. He didn't appreciate always playing second fiddle to the other New York manager, Joe Torre, whose Yankees teams won four World Series championships during Valentine's reign with the Mets from 1996 to 2002.

In fact, Torre is a great role model for Valentine. When Torre got the job with the Yankees in 1996, he had had three unimpressive managerial stints with the N.Y. Mets, Atlanta and St. Louis (894-1,003 record). The Torre hiring was not met with a lot of positive fanfare.

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