NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Sports

October 5, 2012

Sox fire Valentine after one tumultuous season

BOSTON — The Boston Red Sox thought Bobby Valentine would restore order to a coddled clubhouse that disintegrated during the 2011 pennant race.

Instead, he only caused more problems.

The brash and supremely confident manager was fired on Thursday, the day after the finale of a season beset with internal sniping and far too many losses. Valentine went 69-93 in his only year in Boston, the ballclub’s worst season in almost 50 years.

“I understand this decision,” Valentine said. “This year in Boston has been an incredible experience for me, but I am as disappointed in the results as are ownership and the great fans of Red Sox Nation. ... I’m sure next year will be a turnaround year.”

A baseball savant who won the NL pennant with the New York Mets and won it all in Japan, Valentine was brought in after two-time World Series champion Terry Francona lost control of the clubhouse during an unprecedented September collapse. But the players who took advantage of Francona’s hands-off approach bristled under Valentine’s abrasive style.

More importantly, they didn’t win for him, either.

Under Valentine, the Red Sox started 4-10 and didn’t break .500 until after Memorial Day. By August, when the contenders were setting their playoff roster, the Red Sox knew they would not be among them and they traded some of their best players — and biggest salaries — to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Without Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford and Josh Beckett, the Red Sox will save $250 million in future salaries and have a chance to rebuild over the winter.

But that will be too late for Valentine.

“Our 2012 season was disappointing for many reasons,” general manager Ben Cherington said in a statement announcing the firing. “No single issue is the reason, and no single individual is to blame. ... With an historic number of injuries, Bobby was dealt a difficult hand. He did the best he could under seriously adverse circumstances, and I am thankful to him.”

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