Hate Bobby but blame players


Hate Bobby but blame players


So I just finished Gordon Edes new anthology The Best American Bobby Valentine Rip Jobs and apparently the atmosphere over at Fenway is about as gross and dysfunctional as we all imagined. Coaches. Players. Physicians. The General Manager. Everyone has issues with Valentine. I mean, you wouldnt believe some of the stories coming out of the clubhouse.

Did you know that bench coach Tim Bogar is at his wits end over Bobby V. leaving the toilet seat up on the team charters? Or that Dustin Pedroia cant stand the way his manager uses a hard T in words like often and mature? Or how about the fact that David Ortiz was recently overheard lamenting to another team employee: Oh my God. Have you seen Bobby V. eat corn on the cob? Dios mio. Take a breath, man.

Of course, its at least a little suspect that Valentine's biggest and most vocal detractors are all founding members of the Terry Francona Fan Club. And is it any shock that the anti-Valentine crew has taken to voicing their displeasure to Ben Cherington, aka the GM who never wanted to hire Bobby V. in the first place? Of course not. I can see it now: Pedroia, Bogar, Cherington and (before he was traded) Youk, sitting up in the GM's office bitching like the girls from Sex in the City: "Ugh. He's so annoying!"

Yeah, so as fun and engaging as it is to sort through the Red Sox dirty laundry, we have to consider where it's coming from. And while we're doing that, here's something for Valentine's in-house haters to consider.

No one cares.

No one cares if you don't like your manager. No one cares if hes not as nice as the guy you had before (and treated like a steamy pile of crap). No one cares if he drops a "heads up" before giving you a day off. Or if he, God forbid, changes your spot in the lineup in the midst of one of the most injury-ridden few months in recent Red Sox history. No one cares if you're offended by what he says to the media or even how he says it.

All we care about is winning. And if you don't win, that's not going to fall on the manager.

Well, it might fall on the manager. If the Sox don't make the playoffs, it's reasonable to expect Valentine to lose his job. But my point is that 2012 won't be remembered as the year Bobby Valentine brought down the Red Sox. Those who hated him from the beginning will continue to hate him. Those who supported him at the beginning will continue to say that he never got a fair shot. That he was set up to fail. But either way, he won't be the story.

Nope. If the Red Sox go belly-up again this season, the story will be the players. The proud owners of a streak of four straight seasons without a postseason win. Who will have run not one, but two managers out of town, and still think it's someone else who has the problem. The story will be about the GM, who put petty personal differences before the good of the team. The story will be about exceedingly idiotic owners who don't know their ass from their elbow and have completely lost control of the franchise.

Sure, Valentine might be out of job. But he'll land on his feet. He'll run back to TV or Japan or go make another movie in the Dominican. He'll make a nice scapegoat, but when he leaves, he won't take the Red Sox problems with him. And his departure won't leave anyone in that organization any less accountable.

So enough with the bitching. Just win some damn games.

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

Beyond the numbers: The dual threat of Avery Bradley


Beyond the numbers: The dual threat of Avery Bradley

BOSTON – Another year, another season in which Avery Bradley plans to showcase a new and improved skill that will benefit the Boston Celtics.
But with each improved skill, Bradley moves just that much closer to being an all-around, two-way talent that creates problems for teams at both ends of the floor.
We all know about Bradley’s defense, which was good enough to land him a spot on the NBA’s All-Defensive first team last season. He also gets props for steadily improving his game offensively in some area every summer, but defenses might have their hands full more than ever with Bradley.
According to NBA stats guru Dick Lipe, the 6-foot-2 Bradley was the only guard in the NBA last season to shoot better than 70 percent in the restricted area among players who took a minimum of 200 field goal attempts.
He is among a list that includes Los Angeles Clippers big men DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin; Miami’s Hassan Whiteside; current teammate and former Atlanta Hawk Al Horford; San Antonio’s LaMarcus Aldridge; Golden State’s Kevin Durant and Atlanta big man Dwight Howard.
But if you’re thinking about keeping him away from that part of the floor, Bradley also made the 3-point shot a bigger part of his offensive game last season; as in, 40 percent of his shots came from beyond the 3-point line.

Having that kind of diversity makes him a difficult player to get a clear read on how to defend. And because of that, it may open things up even more so for his teammates.
Bradley can shoot from the perimeter; he can score close to the rim. His ball-handling skills have improved in the offseason to where it no longer looks as though it’s a major weakness.
And he defends at a level few players in the league can match.
Collectively it makes Bradley one of the many challenges awaiting teams whenever they face the Celtics, a player who is poised to showcase his diverse set of skills beginning tonight against the Brooklyn Nets. 

Wednesday's Patriots-Bills practice participation/injury report: Same names for Pats


Wednesday's Patriots-Bills practice participation/injury report: Same names for Pats

FOXBORO -- When Dion Lewis wasn't spotted at Wednesday's practice, we had to make it clear when we mentioned his absence: He had only, as far as we knew, missed the start of practice. Though unlikely, there's always the chance a player emerges from the locker room once practice has started and goes through the remaining periods of the workout. 

Now that we have the injury report for Wednesday, we know that wasn't the case for Lewis. He did not show up on the report as a limited participant, meaning he didn't participate at all. 

There were no surprises on Wednesday's injury report, with nine players listed as limited, including tight end Martellus Bennett (ankle), linebacker Jamie Collins (hip) and receiver Julian Edelman (foot).

For the Bills, running back LeSean McCoy (hamstring) did not participate. Bills coach Rex Ryan explained on Wednesday that McCoy aggravated his hamstring injury against the Dolphins on Sunday, but he did not rule him out for the Patriots game this coming weekend.

Wednesday's practice participation/injury report for Sunday's Patriots-Bills game:


TE Martellus Bennett (ankle)
RB Brandon Bolden (knee)
LB Jamie Collins (hip)
WR Julian Edelman (foot)
DL Woodrow Hamilton (shoulder)
LB Shea McClellin (concussion)
WR Malcolm Mitchell (hamstring)
LB Elandon Roberts (ankle)
DL Vincent Valentine (back)


LB Lorenzo Alexander (non-injury related)
LB Zach Brown (illness)
DT Corbin Bryan (shoulder)
TE Charles Clay (knee)
TE Cordy Glenn (ankle)
WR Marquise Goodwin (concussion)
RB LeSean McCoy (hamstring)
LB Lerentee McCray (knee)
DT Adolphus Washington (illness)
S Aaron Williams (neck)

DT Marcell Dareus (hamstring)
RB Mike Gillislee (foot)
T Seantreal Henderson (back)
LB Jerry Hughes (hand)
G John Miller (shoulder)
WR Robert Woods (foot)