It could be a complete coincidence, but the Red Sox have played particularly well since David Ortiz called a players-only meeting for the team back on May 11. Since that day, Boston has gone 12-5 — their best stretch of baseball this season. The most obvious reason for Ortiz’s meeting was that his team was well under .500 and playing horribly. As we recently found out, another reason may have been that he was tired of the way his teammates were treating their new manager.
“I was feeling really bad about Bobby the way things were going and it was because I can see the frustration on his face,” Ortiz said according to ESPNBoston.com. “His hands were tied because he was trying to do things to help us out and it wasn’t working, but it wasn’t his fault. We weren’t executing, so at the end of the day the manager gets blamed, but it’s not his fault. He might make a move, but we need to execute.
“I saw his frustrations and I felt like s***. Part of the reason why is we need to get together and talk about things and chat about things as players, because players make great managers but you need to play well for that to happen.”
Boston has still yet to climb above the .500 mark, but there’s no question they’re heading in the right direction. It’s easy to say when the team is winning, but perhaps it was necessary for a veteran to step up and defend Valentine. Given the way Dustin Pedroia spoke about Bobby V. earlier in the season and the misunderstanding Valentine had with Kevin Youkilis, it’s doubtful either of them were going to be that guy. Ortiz needed to step up.
“The thing I like most about Bobby is that he has that spirit, like when he sees something going the right way on the field he’ll let you know,” Ortiz said. “He gets very excited about it and I like that. He’s emotional about it. When I do something right on the field and I have my manager pumped up about it, that takes my game to another level. He has done that with me a lot this year and, trust me, I’m more than thankful because of that. He’s made me want to go out there and whoop somebody’s ass — big time.”
With two thirds of the season remaining, the Red Sox have plenty of talent and time remaining to turn things around. If the rest of the team can get on board with Ortiz and start supporting the manager, that turnaround could come sooner rather than later.
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