Manager Bobby Valentine and the Boston Red Sox are battling for last place. Valentine and the Red Sox are in a race with the Toronto Blue Jays for fifth in the AL East. In MLB over the past two decades the Red Sox have been a contender almost every season. They are the only team in MLB to win two World Series in the first decade of the 21st century. The 2012 baseball season is one of the worst this team has had in a long time.
As far as Red Sox managerial debuts go, Valentine’s is also one of the worst in recent history. Butch Hobson, who fans liked as a player, managed the hometown team from 1992-1994. In his first year, the Red Sox finished 7th with a record of 73-89 (.451). Under Hobson, the Red Sox never had a winning record.
Right now Boston is 62-71 (.466). They have lost four straight and are 3-7 over the last 10. At the rate they are going, there’s a good chance that with Valentine at the helm the Red Sox could end up with an even worse record than the team had when being managed by the fairly incompetent Hobson.
Two things you should realize about Hobson’s situation that separates his lack of achievement from Valentine’s. Hobson was in his first year as a MLB manager. Valentine has a huge amount of experience. Also, Hobson did not have half the talent that the current Red Sox manager possesses. The pitching staff did feature one of the best, Roger Clemens (18-11), but other starters included starters Mike Gardiner (4-10) and John Dopson (7-11) and reliever Matt Young (who could not throw to first base) was also on the roster.
There were certainly some fine players like Wade Boggs and Tony Pena. But not starter batted better than .276. (That was Bob Zupcic. Bob Zupcic who?) DH Jack Clark hit .210 and other players included Jody Reed (.247) and Billy Hatcher (.238). Hobson did not have a hallmark team.
On the other hand, Valentine has had access to some of the best players in the league and he’s got a much deeper minor league system from which to pull. The point is it’s hard to excuse what Valentine has not gotten out of this Red Sox club. You can excuse Valentine for the team being behind the New York Yankees, but there’s little excuse for Boston being so far behind the Tampa Bay Rays and the Baltimore Orioles.
The Red Sox, who lost to the Oakland Athletics last night, are out of first by 14. The Blue Jays are out by 15. The Wild Card situation is pretty much the same. So under manager Valentine the race is on. It’s a race for dead last. I believe Boston will win that race. At least of there was some sort of compensation such as the type that NFL and NBA teams see with the draft. But there’s no such benefit in baseball.
One thing Hobson had going for him that Valentine does not have. Butch was likeable. He was a nice guy, and although he was not a very good manager, fans did like him. It was hard to be angry with him. Valentine is 0 for 2 in two areas that Hobson was 1 for 2. Unlike Hobson, Valentine is not likeable and like Butch, he’s pretty darn bad at managing a MLB team.