Yesterday the Boston Red Sox announced that Bobby Valentine will be their new manager. He’s been out of professional baseball since 2009 and hasn’t managed in the MLB since 2002 with the Mets. In all he has 15 years of managing experience in the MLB and seven years in Japan.
Valentine began his managing career for the Texas Rangers in 1985 at age 35. He spent the next eight years there managing in 1,186 games with a record of 581-605. In 1995 he signed a two-year contract to be the manager of the Chiba Lotte Marines, but after the season ended he was fired because he and the general manager had conflicting opinions.
In 1996 he came back to the Mets, now as a manager of the Triple-A team. He led the Norfolk Tide to a record of 82-59 and then was hired to be the manager of the Mets with 31 games remaining. In 1997 and 1998 the Mets finished with a record of 88-74, and missed the playoffs by one game in 1998. In 1999 the Mets put up an impressive record of 97-66 but only won the Wild Card and lost to the Atlanta Braves in the NLCS. The Mets would win the Wild Card again in 2000 with a record of 94-68 and won the NL pennant. After that the Mets started to decline and after a 75-86 finish in 2002, the Mets decided to let Valentine go. In all, he managed in seven seasons for the Mets and finished with a record of 536-467.
He then returned to Japan to have his second stint as the manager of the Chiba Lotte Marines. He would manage the team from 2004 to 2009 and was a huge fan favorite in Japan. In 2005 the Marines won both the Japan Series and the first ever Asia Series. He was let go by the Marines after the 2009 season despite the fact that 112,000 people signed a petition wanting him to stay.
Now Bobby V begins his next managerial journey, as leader of the Boston Red Sox. They will have a very different look for the 2012 season, after their collapse this year. There will be a press conference tomorrow, where the Red Sox will formally introduce Valentine as their new manager.
This will not be an easy gig for Bobby V. Although the Red Sox have a very good team, they are coming off one of the greatest collapses in baseball history. As a result they lost their manager, general manager and their closer, so far in this young offseason. There will be a lot of pressure from fans to return this team to glory.
Bobby V hasn’t managed an MLB game since 2002, but I don’t think it will take him long to adjust. He has a great personality, and although he isn’t the best baseball analyst, he is a terrific coach who needs to be managing in baseball at some level. The fans should love Bobby for his passion and his intelligence, but most of all because he is just a fun and happy guy.
I would have rooted for whichever team Bobby V went to, as long as it wasn’t in the NL East. Now that he is in the American League, it makes it much easier to root for him. So good luck to Bobby V and to the 2012 Red Sox, hope to see you in the World Series. Mind you not against the Mets because I’m not on drugs at the moment, but in the World Series nonetheless.