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Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Some Red Sox players blast Bobby Valentine in meeting with owners

The relationship between Bobby Valentine and some Red Sox players has been fractured from the start, became worse during the season, and reportedly reached the point in late July where they no longer wanted to play for him. That’s according to a report from Yahoo! Sports’ Jeff Passan, who says several players blasted Valentine during a meeting with ownership last month.

According to Passan, the owners called for the meeting on July 26 in response to Adrian Gonzalez, who, texting on behalf of his teammates, complained that Valentine left pitcher Jon Lester in to allow 11 runs during a July 22 start. Some of the players reportedly told management they no longer wanted to play for Valentine. Passan’s report points out that some players did not participate in the Valentine-bashing meeting because they feel he has been unfairly blamed for the team’s struggles.

Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington confirmed to USA TODAY Sports’ Bob Nightengale that a meeting with players and ownership occurred.

Said Cherington in an e-mail to USA TODAY Sports:

“There was a meeting in New York with ownership and players. There were a variety of topics covered and some frustrations expressed. No ultimatums were issued. The focus of the meeting was an airing out of issues in an effort to focus our attention on the field.”

Players were reportedly upset with Valentine for leaving in Lester to be embarrassed against Toronto. Another incident that upset players was Valentine telling third baseman Will Middlebrooks “Nice inning, kid,” after the rookie made a fielding mistake.

And then there’s this amazing anecdote that shows Dustin Pedroia’s disdain for Valentine. Apparently the picture described below has been circulating among the Red Sox via text message:

Pedroia, notorious among teammates for his wit and humor, is in the foreground with a giddy smile, his tongue wagging and both thumbs up. Next to him is allegedly Valentine, face down on a table, apparently asleep. A caption accompanies the picture: “Our manager contemplating his lineup at 3:30 p.m.”

That picture wouldn’t be too far off from describing the truth about Bobby Valentine, who, speaking to reporters before Tuesday night’s game at Baltimore, deflected comment on the Yahoo! report.

“They’re still playing for me,” he said of the disgruntled players.

That may be true, but the team isn’t playing particularly well; Boston is 57-59 and 5.5 games out in the wild card race.

Red Sox ownership made a bold move by hiring a divisive personality like Valentine after last season’s collapse. The hiring does not seem to be working, and at this point the Red Sox would be crazy to bring him back for another season.

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