After every loss, I wait with bated breath for the news that Ben Cherington and some complement of ownership have decided to speak to the press. I wait to hear that it's over. I wait to hear that Bobby Valentine has, after one of the more disastrous tenures in Red Sox history, been unceremoniously fired.
I and many other Red Sox fans wait anxiously for this moment for the sheer catharsis it will bring. Bobby Valentine's awful performance as manager may not be entirely to blame for Boston's misfortunes--in fact, without ascribing really exceptional weight to his inability to improve the clubhouse atmosphere, he probably has a small burden of the blame compared to the players at large.
Still, through his at times inexplicable lineups, awful bullpen management, and seemingly constant conflicts with players (often through the media), he has become the face of this farce of a Red Sox team. The face of our discontent. He has proven our worst fears correct, and has been entirely detestable in the process between his antics in the media, willingness to throw players under the bus, and that loathsome smile he plasters across his face as Fenway Park burns to the ground around him on a daily basis.
No, Bobby Valentine has earned no love at all from me, and I will thoroughly enjoy the smear campaign that is hopefully to come when he is inevitably jettisoned from the team. That being said, as much as I want him gone, as much as I wait every night to hear that he is, I know that there are good reasons to keep him here. At least for the next 26 games.
The Red Sox, after all, are an unmitigated disaster at the moment. When a team is as hurt as the Red Sox are, and has gone into all-out sell mode and done a very good job of it besides, the rest of the year is never going to be pretty. We've seen over the last seven games just how bad things can get, and with 40-man call-ups set to get even more time now in September, it's hard to imagine we're going to see more than a handful of wins this month.
That's good for draft position, bad for anyone who's sitting in the manager's role. And that's why you keep Bobby V. around, at least for now--to take the heat. As insensible as it might be, guys like Pedroia, Ellsbury, Lester, and Buchholz could well come under fire some for the performance of this incredibly diminished roster if the Sox were to lose their best scapegoat in Bobby V. Yes, there is some blame to be placed on them as well--Buchholz and especially Ellsbury have renewed concerns with their performances of late--but what they really need now is for this season to be over. Bobby Valentine needs to learn how to properly manage a baseball team and probably how to interact with other human beings in general.
This focusing of blame could be even more important depending on who the Sox have eyes on to replace Valentine. If they're going to go outside the organization then it's no big deal, but if they were going to turn to Tim Bogar, oft regarded as a strong candidate for a future managerial position as he is, they would likely have to make him the interim manager, leaving the beginning of his tenure likely a disastrous failure.
So for now, while I still spend my nights hoping to see the news many of us have been waiting months for, I do so knowing that it's a need for instant gratification that fuels that hope. Ownership has said that Bobby V will be here at least for the rest of this year, and as frustrating as that may be, it's probably for the best.