I've spent the past few days talking myself into the Bobby Valentine era.
Or at least trying to. I've been reading, writing, googling, everything! in search of reasons to get excited for what feels like an imminent connection between the Sox and the inventor of the wrap. (Then again, I wrote a similar post about Dale Sveum a few weeks ago, and we know how that turned out.)
Anyway, so far, my favorite source of inspiration comes from a Sunday Night Baseball game last August. A Sox-Yankees game to be specific: Josh Beckett vs. C.C. Sabathia.
Valentine was in the broadcast booth for ESPN, and by the sixth inning became incensed with Beckett's refusal to take any less than a ridiculous amount of time between pitches: "This is a 2-hour-and-40-minute game so far," Valentine preached. "That's a half-hour added to this game of him standing around and us sitting around watching him do nothing!"
As ESPN's David Schoenfeld noted in his running diary from the game, Bobby V also went off on Beckett in the seventh inning. Writes Schoenfeld:
Yeah, weve passed the three-hour mark. Yankees-Red Sox baseball, the slowest show on Earth. Speak of the devil, Bobby Valentine just goes on an excellent rant about Josh Beckett taking so much time between pitches -- up to 30, 35 seconds -- when the rulebook says the pitcher has 12 seconds to deliver the ball once the batter is ready. Bobby V says baseball needs to do a better job enforcing the rulebook.
And that, my friends, is one reason to get excited for the potential arrival of Bobby Valentine in Boston. He's a man who feels our pain.
Less time between pitches. Shorter games. More lively and exciting baseball.
Or six months of Josh Beckett butting heads with his manager . . .
Then again, unless the Sox hire Jason Varitek, that's bound to happen anyway.