On the bright side of Bobby Valentine

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On the bright side of Bobby Valentine

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.

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

Julien sidesteps job security question with "shock journalism" comment

Julien sidesteps job security question with "shock journalism" comment

BOSTON -- With three crushing losses in a row at a time when results are really all that matters, the Boston Bruins are reeling at the wrong time during the regular season. The B’s tried their best to win a game 0-0 with strong defense against a sleepy Chicago Blackhawks bunch on Friday night, but ultimately coughed up a Marian Hossa goal in the final minutes for a 1-0 regulation loss at TD Garden.

The defeat continued a swirl downward for the Black and Gold over the last week, and was a second straight shutout loss on home ice for the first time in almost 15 years. The losing stretch has also kicked up the chatter that Claude Julien is in trouble as head coach of the Bruins, and the hockey club’s underperformance up and down the lineup is ultimately going to cost the NHL’s longest tenured bench boss his job.

The Ottawa Senators have passed the Bruins in the Atlantic Division, and it’s only a matter of time before the Toronto Maple Leafs move by them as well with both Toronto and Ottawa holding six games in hand on Boston. Combine all of this with the B’s having missed the playoffs in each of the previous two seasons leading into this one, and it shouldn’t be at all surprising that Julien is squarely on the coaching hot seat.

The B’s bench boss was asked about his job security after the Chicago loss, and clearly didn’t appreciate the tough, but appropriate question.

“Well, I’m not into shock-journalism,” said Julien in a prideful tone. “So I’ll stay away from that question if you don’t mind.”

The Bruins posted their Saturday schedule shortly after Julien and the B’s players had addressed the media following the loss, and sure enough the embattled coach is scheduled to address the media post-practice as part of the regular practice day routine. So it doesn’t seem that a move with Julien is imminent this weekend despite another loss, but both the coach and the players know something is going to happen to shake things up with this team if they continue to struggle.

“Right now it’s a results based situation, so if you’re going to keep losing games then probably something’s going to happen,” said Torey Krug. “But right now we’re just pretty down emotionally after this game, so I don’t want to look at the big picture. I just [want to] focus on what’s going on in this room, and hopefully we can come back with a good effort the next game.”

A good effort might help Julien’s standing with the Bruins in the short term, but it’s impossible to imagine the B’s bench boss making it through the rest of the Bruins regular season given all of things working against him right now.