Red Sox: Bobby Valentine corroborates David Ortiz’s allegations

Sep 28, 2016; Bronx, NY, USA; Boston Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz (34) walks through the dugout before a game against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 28, 2016; Bronx, NY, USA; Boston Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz (34) walks through the dugout before a game against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports /

In response to the allegations levied against the former Red Sox manager in David Ortiz’s autobiography, Bobby Valentine stated: “They’re basically true.”

Back in early May, an excerpt of David Ortiz‘s autobiography, Papi: My Story, pulled no punches when describing the lone season Bobby Valentine spent as manager of the Red Sox. The 2012 season in which Valentine was at the helm of the club was the only time in Ortiz’s career the Red Sox failed to break the 70-win plateau. As fans are well aware, it was an unmitigated disaster.

Based on their record alone, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that the players in the clubhouse hated having to answer to Valentine. By all accounts, he created a toxic environment on the first day of Spring Training that carried its way through to the end of September, resulting in the worst Red Sox season since 1994. Ortiz went into detail discussing his personal experience, what other players dealt with, and how the whole situation came about in his autobiography.

The full excerpt detailing Ortiz’s experience with Valentine is available from here. It’s pretty lengthy, so I’ve decided to highlight the main points below.

"Everyone I knew was unimpressed with Valentine, the new manager of the Red Sox. He was hired in late November 2011, and the negative reaction from my baseball friends was instant. There were the sarcastic “good luck” messages. There were ominous warnings to get ready. Some even suggested that, at 36 years old, I probably wanted to retire rather than play for someone like him.More from BoSox InjectionBizarre trade deadline comes back to haunt Red Sox after Nathan Eovaldi departureRed Sox’ Moneyball-style offseason continues with Corey Kluber contractRich Hill’s Red Sox departure puts him within striking distance of unique MLB recordRed Sox offseason takes another nasty hit with Nathan Eovaldi departureWhy Red Sox fans should be rooting for Carlos Correa’s Mets deal to go throughI’m a person who has been able to get along with a range of personalities, pretty much everybody, so I tried to block out all the information I had. I tried not to think about the fact that the Red Sox never asked my opinion on players they were thinking about signing or managers they wanted to hire. I found out on the news, just like everyone else, that Valentine was our new manager. I did some research and learned that there was basically one person in the organization, team president Larry Lucchino, who really wanted to hire Valentine. That was it. One person. Still, I had to perform regardless of who was managing. How bad could Bobby V really be?……..He asked for a lot of changes, including some that were completely unnecessary. One of the more ridiculous ones was having players hit grounders to each other. I thought that was funny, especially for me. The Red Sox weren’t paying me to hit grounders; I was there to hit balls to the moon.The problem was not that his drills were new. The bigger issue was how he expected players who had been in the big leagues a long time to immediately do things his way without any missteps. There had been a lot of conversations about our team the year before and how our lack of accountability led to our September collapse. Maybe Bobby was told to come in and boss around full-grown men. Maybe the Red Sox wanted to hire a daddy, not a manager.……..I was competitive enough to think that we could win a bunch of games despite Bobby’s ego. It didn’t take long for me to realize I’d been too optimistic. And when I say not long, I mean the first series of the season. We opened in Detroit and were swept by the Tigers. It was impossible to ignore the comments from my teammates about Bobby’s managing, how he made decisions that didn’t make sense and how generally clueless and distant he was. The next stop on our trip was Toronto. On the flight there, I experienced a first in my career.Bobby’s seat was in the middle of the plane, and the players were in the back. That day I was near the front of our section. I remember looking up and seeing a line of my teammates walking toward me. They were pissed. They said, “We want that mother****** fired before the airplane lands."

There’s a lot to take in there, but to sum it up. Only Larry Lucchino actually wanted to hire Valentine. The players weren’t consulted at all before hand. He implemented unnecessary changes to a team that was on pace to eclipse 100 wins at the start of September the previous season. Ortiz and his teammates felt Valentine was clueless and there to be a babysitter, not a manager. Players were fed up with him after the first series of the year.

Well, in a recent interview with Sports Illustrated, Valentine got his chance to respond to Ortiz’s allegations and did nothing to deny what the Red Sox legend had to say.

"“What he said was basically true. I did yell at a player and they did come into my office and say that I needed to apologize,” said Valentine. “And I did roll my eyes. There’s no question about that. But as I said then and I’ll say now: If David or anybody else thinks that I was the problem with the 2012 season, I think they’re living in a fantasy world.”"

Later on in the interview, Valentine also acknowledged that the Red Sox did hire to clean up the clubhouse and expressed some regrets for the way he dealt with his players. But for him to argue that he wasn’t the problem, is just as ridiculous as ever.

The very next year, the Red Sox nearly flipped their record (97-65) en route to a World Series championship under John Farrell. Sure, Farrell has had his share of criticism since that season, but there’s no doubt the players were much happier under him than Valentine. More so, they won that title with what was arguably a worse team on paper.

Next: Comparing the careers of David Ortiz and Ted Williams

Valentine was fired by the Red Sox on October 4, 2012, a day after the conclusion of the regular season. Understandably, he hasn’t found his way back to a position in baseball since. He has served as the athletic director at Sacred Heart University in Connecticut since 2013.