Boston Red Sox: Former manager Bobby Valentine considered for US Ambassador
By Sean Penney
Former Boston Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine is being considered by Donald Trump for the role of United States Ambassador to Japan.
Red Sox Nation doesn’t have many fond memories of Bobby Valentine, but his popularity in Japan may send him back overseas.
WEEI’s Rob Bradford reports that the former Red Sox manager is on the short list of candidates being considered by President-elect Donald Trump for the position of US Ambassador to Japan.
Valentine managed seven years in Japan for the Chiba Lotte Mariners, where he became the first US born manager to win the Japan Series in 2005.
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Bobby V has known Trump for decades and is well connected with several people associated with his administration. He is also friendly with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, so the possibility of Valentine being named as an ambassador may not be as far fetched as it may seem.
While he has been considered a respected and brilliant manager in numerous stops in his career, Boston wasn’t one of them. Valentine’s one season in the Red Sox dugout was a disaster, as he led a loaded roster to a 69-win season that left them sitting at the bottom of the AL East.
The Red Sox hired Valentine in part because his managerial style presented a change of pace from his more player-friendly predecessor, Terry Francona. The move backfired when Valentine’s direct approach rubbed several of the veterans the wrong way and it didn’t take long for them to start tuning him out. The term “toxic clubhouse” was frequently used to describe that dysfunctional team, which Valentine seemed helpless to resolve. The manager’s fate was sealed when the players led a mutiny against him, prompting ownership to oust him after only one season.
John Farrell would replace Valentine for the 2013 season, but the manager was hardly the only change. The roster underwent a massive overhaul, with team chemistry viewed as a priority, which resulted in a World Series title that year.
Dustin Pedroia and Clay Buchholz are the only holdovers that remain from that 2012 team. Pedroia was among those players that butted heads with Valentine, memorably defending teammate Kevin Youkilis from the new skipper’s public criticism by telling reporters “that’s not how we go about our stuff here.” The star second baseman isn’t likely to chime in about his former manager now, but it won’t stop former Red Sox players from that squad from taking their shots.
Looks like Youk and Bobby V never made up. Big surprise.
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More surprising is the potential for Valentine to be entrusted with an Ambassador position. Hopefully his chemistry with Japan is better than what he inspired inside the Red Sox clubhouse.