Tuesday, April 03, 2012

V: The Final Battle

Okay, here's my theory about my favorite Martian, Bobby Valentine. I should first tell you, though, that I don't believe the manager of a team loaded with stars matters all that much. Not that they're completely meaningless, but a 100-win team would still be a 95-win team with Dr. Seuss at the helm. Ninety, minimum.

Having witnessed V's purple haze as Mets manager, since I lived in the NY-area at the time, my big concern was the possibility of him saying and doing things as my team's skipper that make him "bigger than the team," causing strife that leads to a downward spiral of losing.

In other words, I just hoped he'd let these guys play ball, and all would be fine.

However, as this off-season has dragged on, and as I went back and forth between "Bobby's our guy!" and "Sweet Mother of the Mercy Rule, what have we done?", I realized something. Who decides if someone's behavior is "bigger than the team"? The media. A public figure could say anything in the world. Even if you read their exact quote or hear them saying the words, the effect it has is all based on how the media spins it.

Therefore, all Bobby has to do is take the power away from the media. And he's the type of guy who can do it.

Most people in the game speak in cliches, and always check themselves as to not say anything that might give the opponent motivation. So in Boston, any time somebody slips up, or says something that can be perceived as slipping up, it's World War 9. Valentine, on the other hand, says the first thing that pops into his head. When a writer asks for a clarification on a previous possibly controversial comment, Bobby doesn't make an excuse, he says, "Yeah I said that. Now I'm sayin' this, too."

But he can't back down. There have been signs of him saying what you're "supposed" to say, like when he backtracked on Jeter's flip and when he answered the question "will there be beer in the clubhouse" with anything other than "none of your goddamn business, next question." But for the most part he's been Vintage V, just letting the words roll from throat to mouth without a stop at Brain-tree. A controversial comment isn't controversial if they all are.

Hopefully this leads to the media being unable to stir up shit, and having to just cover that up by coming up with lame phrases like "V Being V" or whatever. Then the team just cruises along, unaffected by made-up rumors, meaningless gossip, and the eternal panic ingrained in the Boston media, which they spin as being ingrained in the fans.

As a bonus to the fact that I've officially solved* that puzzle, and therefore the team shouldn't do any worse with V as manager, there's also the fact that the guy clearly wants to go out of his way to make my team better, and preaches hustle and fundamentals. Who knows, maybe some of this stuff will make us better off than we'd be with Gene Lamont or somebody. Maybe a manager can have more meaning than I thought. Granted, Papi has two rings using the "trot to first" method, but I'll take my chances with the hustle.

*That's what I keep telling myself anyway.

Good post. It's probably too early to know if you've got it right or not, but the 'herd' media certainly feeds on controversy. Two areas V may make a difference: preparing team on the basics and evaluating players, talent, etc.
I'm certainly looking forward to it all, this can go in so many different directions regardless of your feelings on the media. And obviously I'd rather see a train wreck with "The Olde Towne Team" than everything going smoothly.

I think V's reputation is exactly what he's wanted it to be: he's a loose canon, with a great grasp on the game of baseball, who sometimes comes across as the creator of the game of baseball.

You can say the media helps create a "bigger than the team" character, however, he's not innocent in creating that image either. He's certainly a smart baseball man, and I'm sure he'll do a lot of good things for the Sox.

Happy Baseball Season!!!

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