Yahoo! Sports Report Fallout: Bobby Valentine Feels Red Sox Need ‘Fine-Tuning,’ Adrian Gonzalez Calls Valentine A Good ManagerAugust 16, 2012 – 8:30 am by Steven Cuce
The noise continues to grow louder in Boston. Bobby Valentine is at the center of the controversy. According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports, Red Sox stars blasted manager Bobby Valentine in a heated July 27th meeting with ownership.
Let’s face it the Red Sox are underachieving this season mainly due to the performances of Jon Lester and Josh Beckett. Boston is 13.5 games out of 1st place and 6.5 games out of the Wild Card going into Wednesday’s action. There’s still a lot of finger pointing going on in the Red Sox locker room and it appears nothing has changed since the collapse last September. Valentine may be facing a mutiny in Boston. Adrian Gonzalez was claimed to be one of the vocal leaders who wanted Valentine out of town. Here are Bobby V’s and Gonzalez’s take on the Yahoo! Sports report.
Bobby Valentine joined WEEI in Boston with The Big Show to discuss his conversation with Dustin Pedroia before Tuesday night’s game against the Baltimore Orioles, the Red Sox being distracted by this recent Yahoo! Sports report, being involved in a coaches only meeting on July 27th before the players complained about him to management, the players ever requesting a meeting to talk with him about their issues with his style of managing and the Boston Red Sox needing fine-tuning in their structure.
Can you shed any light on what was going on before the game against the Orioles where you and second baseman Dustin Pedroia had a conversation in the dugout that was caught on camera?
“I don’t really remember yesterday right before the game. I don’t know when the camera is on and when the camera is not on, but there’s a lot of emotion flying around here these days. My job is to try to control that emotion and direct it in the right direction as often as possible.”
Is there a distraction right now from this Yahoo! Sports report?
“It meaning? [Host: All of the noise from the media and the stories] From what I gather it’s common, it’s what happens here. One of the things I was discussing with one of the players was that all this noise is one of the reasons players don’t like to sign here. Because you know, they don’t have to deal with it in other markets. They don’t have to worry about the drama of the day, they can just go out and play baseball. What I said to them is, ‘Hey this is what we all signed up for. We’re not going to change the outside situation, but we can definitely change the internal situation.’ “
Were you asked to be involved in the meetings the players had with management back in late July? If not did you ask why you were not invited to that meeting?
“Wow, well I was involved in the meeting prior to I guess that other meeting. [Host: At the hotel that day? You had a meeting with ownership before the players did? Did you leave the room?] No just with ownership. I was with the ownership and Ben Cherington. I guess this is the way I thought they do things to be as candid as possible. I didn’t know that is was anything different than the way they always had done things. My coaches had a meeting. They were involved, but they weren’t involved in the players meeting.”
Before this meeting on July 27th did the players ever request a meeting with you?
“Well, again I don’t know if the players called this meeting or what the whole situation was. [Host: The players aren’t denying it Bobby. They aren’t denying they had the meeting and weren’t happy with you] Okay, I’m sure there was a meeting of the minds to make all this stuff happen. I just don’t want you to think that I show up every day at game time and I sit in the corner of the dugout and when the game is over I slide away on my broomstick. I’m here at two o’clock and continuously talking with guys. In fact a couple of them have already come in today where they come in and out and we’ll talk about there stance or pitch grip or the catchers signs or anything else they want to talk about.”
Does this Red Sox team have a good structure from what you’re seeing right now? Is this a productive structure or climate for a winning atmosphere?
“I think it needs fine-tuning. [Host: What does that mean?] Well just as you said they brought me in to adjust some of the culture that was existing. I talked to [Patriots head coach] Bill Belichick about it when he first came into the area, and I’ve also talked to [Celtics head coach] Doc Rivers, when you come in and there’s a different culture and change is needed, it’s never easy.”
Adrian Gonzalez joined WEEI in Boston with Rob Bradford to respond to the Yahoo! Sports report that the Boston Red Sox team wanted Bobby Valentine fired back on July 27th.
Opening statement to Rob Bradford regarding Yahoo! Sports report that he was one of most vocal guys who wanted Bobby Valentine fired:
“The source is inaccurate. It says that I was animated and one of the most vocal guys in the meeting, and that’s false.”
Were you taken by surprise by the Yahoo! Sports report?
“Absolutely, because, first of all, if somebody is going to try and be an unnamed source they better be right with everything they say. This is putting our integrity and everything about us out there, and that’s just unfair. I just know I was one of the least vocal guys there.”
Did John Henry organize the team meeting regarding Bobby Valentine?
“Yeah, he did.”
So again when you see a story like that what did you think?
“Just like every story around here, there are parts that are true, and parts that are false. I think it’s wrong for the fans to get half of a story, half of the truth. Our focus has been to just go out and play ball and just worry about baseball. Things like this come up that we have to respond to, but at the end of the day it’s about playing ball.”
Is this Yahoo! Sports report the most significant story written about the Red Sox over the past year?
“Every story has it’s significance. Ballplayers get frustrated when things aren’t 100 percent accurate, because then it’s just making people perceive things that aren’t true. We care about the fans, the Boston people, Red Sox Nation, so if something is to come out we want it to be 100 percent honest. When it’s not…it doesn’t put anybody in a good spot.”
How does this story end? Does it end with winning?
“Absolutely. Everything ends with winning. Everything ends with production. We make a run like we want to, like we’re striving for, this will all be on the back-burner at the end of the day. If we don’t, it will be part of the reason why and that’s unfortunate because us here in the clubhouse are focused on winning, focused on preparation and focused on doing everything we can to win. These are all side-notes that take away from our main goal.”
Just to clarify is this story going to be a distraction for the team to lose?
“Distractions are not a reason why we lose. We’re professionals and we’re groomed to understand it’s part of the game and that’s we need to be above that. Whether I do good on the field has nothing to do with what’s written about me. When I step on the field I’m focused on winning the game. I had a discussion with Bobby today about that. He knows exactly what happened. He knows the truth. I don’t know why this all of a sudden becomes something because this happened a month ago. So it’s all been cleared, and now somebody decides to write it. It’s already old.”
Do you think the line of communication with Bobby Valentine has gotten better as the year has progressed?
“Absolutely. I think we’re all getting accustomed to Bobby. I’ve told this to John Henry, I’ve told this to Ben Cherington, and I’ve told it to Bobby, I think he’s a good manager. Nobody faults him for losing, and that’s unfair.”