Hate Bobby but blame players

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Hate Bobby but blame players

Wow.

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

Some Patriots kneel, others stand and link arms during national anthem

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Some Patriots kneel, others stand and link arms during national anthem

FOXBORO -- The Patriots took different approaches as the National Anthem played on Sunday at Gillette Stadium. Many, including safety and captain Devin McCourty, took a knee. Others stood and linked arms. 

On the opposite sideline, it appeared as though every member of the Texans stood on the sidelines and linked arms. 

Those joining McCourty on a knee included Stephon Gilmore, Malcolm Butler, Lawrence Guy, Johnson Bademosi, Alan Branch, Brandon King, Malcom Brown and rookies Deatrich Wise and Adam Butler. 

Among those linking arms were Tom Brady, Phillip Dorsett, Cassius Marsh, Matthew Slater, David Harris and Dwayne Allen.

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