Simply shocking that nobody has yet come up with that title.
That slap in the face wasn't a dream. That cold bucket of truth wasn't a nightmare. That Nick Carfardo column wasn't a mirage. It's all true. The Red Sox did, in point of fact, hire Bobby Valentine as their manager. There are, of course, concerns. Steven Goldman of Baseball Prospectus voices a few of them in this (free) article. Mr. Goldman notes that Valentine is going to be less likely to shield the players and indeed, he may even call them out publicly from time to time. To me, the miracle of Terry Francona was that he would go to extremes to avoid extremes. Put a different way, he would do what ever it took to create a pressure-free environment for his players. Time and again Francona stood in front of bullets for the players. Valentine won't do that, or at least, he hasn't in the past. What will that mean when it comes to wins and loses? I don't know, and I doubt anyone else does either.
Speaking of Terry Francona, PPeter Gammons' latest for MLB.com has a choice quote from Francona that would never have been revealed had either of the following two conditions been met: 1) Francona remained as Red Sox manager, and 2) Manny Ramirez remained active (not retired). Beyond that, Mr. Gammons discusses the possibility (increasing likelihood?) that Daniel Bard moves to the starting rotation and, in the meat of it, the hiring of Bobby Valentine and what that means for the Red Sox front office.
David Schoenfield over at ESPN's Sweet Spot blog (Rob Neyer's old stomping grounds) has a comprehensive look at Valentine and some of the decisions he's likely to face in the coming year. Not covered are which kind of lollipop, grape or cherry, to give out for successful bunt attempts, how many little white pills to take if faced with the question, "Do I start Andrew Miller or Kyle Weiland?", and of course, is a mauve office too metro or not metro enough?
Curious what they're saying 200 miles to the southwest? Allan at Joy of Sox has you covered.
So, a funny thing happened on the way to hiring a manager. Apparently, according to Alex Speier at WEEI.com, after relieving Terry Francona, Red Sox officials told a player or players that they had no plans as in none, nope, nada, to, "hire someone like Bobby Valentine." Oops. Although, in fairness, they didn't hire someone like Bobby Valentine. They hired Bobby Valentine. Ah, semantics, my dear, dear friend, semantics. Also, if that player was Jonathan Papelbon, problem solved.
If you woke up last night in a sweat wondering, just who is this Bobby Valentine character, why is he beloved in Japan, and why did he turn into a two headed goat and eat my Volvo hatchback, well, you're in luck. This week's OTM Podcast guest, Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal, spoke with Brian Sikorski who played for Valentine in Japan. Sikorski had some good things to say about playing for Valentine. As it turns out though, you're on your own with the goat thing.
In a blatantly transparent attempt to appear well rounded, over at Fire Brand of the AL, Chip Buck spoke with Jim Callis of Baseball America and got his take on many things in the Sox minor league system. It's actually a great interview, and Mr. Callis knows what he's talking about.
Finally, over at Not Graphs, if Jay Johnstone ever hands you a horn, run and hide. Actually, if you ever see Jay Johnstone, run and hide.