McAdam: Debunking three Valentine myths

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McAdam: Debunking three Valentine myths

BOSTON -- Bobby Valentine has been so many things -- standout amateur baseball player, manager, broadcaster, competitive ballroom dancer -- that, even at 61, it's difficult to get a clear picture of him.

Making matters more complicated is that few people are neutral about Valentine. Valentine has both his ardent supporters and a seemingly equal number of vocal detractors -- and not many who are in-between.

In the last five days, Valentine has gone from stealth candidate to potential Red Sox managerial frontrunner.

Whether he's hired or not, here are three myths about Valentine that require debunking:

1) He's a winner.

That would depend on your definition of "winner."

It's true that Valentine's career winning percentage is .510 (1117-1072) over 2,189 games in the big leagues.

But a closer look reveals that Valentine, true to his winning percentage, was more "slightly above-average" than "winner" in his two previous turns.

In his first manager's job, with the Texas Rangers, Valentine spent eight seasons in the dugout and never reached the playoffs. In fact, for a time, Valentine held the dubious distinction of having managed the most number of games by an active manager without once qualifying for the postseason.

Managing the New York Mets, Valentine had six straight winning seasons and twice took the Mets to the playoffs -- once in 1999 as a wild-card entry which lost in the NLCS to the Atlanta Braves and again in 2000, when he directed the Mets to the World Series (where they lost to the New York Yankees in a famed Subway Series).

In 15 years, Valentine managed a team into the postseason twice. Similarly, his teams cracked the 90-win plateau two times. His teams never finished better than second.

2) He wouldn't stand for the kind of frat-house behavior that sank the 2011 Red Sox.

Actually, Valentine twice oversaw teams which had some similar issues.

In 1999, as the Mets season was ending, at least two of the team's stars -- Bobby Bonilla and Rickey Henderson -- were otherwise occupied. In Game 6 of the NLCS, Bonilla and Henderson were in the clubhouse playing cards while the Mets tried, unsuccessfully, to force a Game 7.

Then, in 2002, some stories alleged that as many as seven players on the roster had smoked marijuana. Some, it was reported, hired limousines rather than take the team bus so they could smoke postgame.

When Valentine was fired after the 2002 season, owner Fred Wilpon said Valentine had lost control of the clubhouse and the players.

Given the late-season implosion the Sox underwent, complete with players drinking beer and eating fried chicken, Valentine undoubtedly had some explaining to do in his interview with Red Sox management and ownership.

3) At 61, Valentine is too established and too set in his ways to incorporate some of the new statistical metrics which the Red Sox employ.

To the contrary, Valentine has long been eager to incorporate advanced statistical data for in-game strategy, dating all the way back to his first major league managerial
job in Texas.

There, Craig Wright, a forerunner among sabremeticians, supplied him with data and Valentie embraced it.

At the time, Wright's information was rather basic; statistical anaylsis has grown mightily in the last 25 years or so.

But when you consider that some organizations still eye such data wearily, the very fact that Valentine was willing to incorporate such information as early as the mid-to-late 1980s signals a willingness to try new things and listen to what others have to offer.

Quotes, notes and stars: Buchholz 'not demoralized'

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Quotes, notes and stars: Buchholz 'not demoralized'

BOSTON - Quotes, notes and stars from the Red Sox' 8-2 loss to the Colorado Rockies:

 

QUOTES

"Yeah. Dave (Dombrowski), and I and Carl (Willis), we always have conversations about every guy, so this will be no different. We know that Eddie (Rodriguez) is ready to come back to us, but there's been no decision made as of right now.'' - John Farrell, asked whether the team intends to assess Clay Buchholz's spot in the starting rotation.

"(I'm) not demoralized. The team's still winning. I'm basically the only one that's struggling. . . The other guys are doing a really good job of picking up the slack that I'm leaving behind.'' - Buchholz.

"That's out of my pay grade; I can't worry about that. I'm here to pitch. If I don't have a spot, that's part of it. As they say, if you don't like it, pitch better. That's what it comes down to.'' - Buchholz.

"It was a fun ride. I had a lot of fun. I enjoyed it. Most of all, the team played really well during it. I was blessed to be in this situation.'' - Jackie Bradley Jr. on the end of his 29-game winning streak.

"I'm very proud of myself. To be able to get the opportunity to go this far, it's a blessing. I wouldn't say I'm disappointed. Obviously, you want to get a hit, but it's tough getting a hit day-in, day-out. It was a pretty special run for me.'' - Bradley.

 

NOTES

* Jackie Bradley Jr's 29-game hitting streak came to an end. It's tied for the fourth-longest streak in franchise history.

* Xander Bogaerts extended his hitting streak to 19 games, now the longest such streak in the big leagues.

* Dustin Pedroia has reached base via a walk or a hit in each of his last 15 starts.

* In David Ortiz's last 15 games, he has 16 extra-base hits and 20 RBI.

* The Red Sox have scored 51 runs in the first inning over 47 games, an average of 1.09 per first inning.

* Ortiz (double, homer) passed Ty Cobb to move into 13th place on the all-time extra-base hit list.

* Ortiz set a personal record by knocking in multiple runs for the fourth straight game.

* The three homers allowed by Clay Buchholz were a season-high.

 

STARS

1) Jon Gray

Gray earned the first road win of his career by going 7 1/3 innings and blanking the Red Sox after the first inning.

2) Dustin Garneau

The Colorado catcher set a career best with six total bases, hitting a two-run homer in the fifth and a double in the ninth.

3) David Ortiz

Ortiz homered in the first inning to give the Red Sox a 2-0 lead four batters into the game, then chipped in with a leadoff double in the fourth.

 

First impressions: Bradley Jr.'s hit streak comes to an end

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First impressions: Bradley Jr.'s hit streak comes to an end

BOSTON - First impressions from the Red Sox' 8-2 loss to the Colorado Rockies:

 

Just when you think Clay Buchholz may be close to figuring some things out, you realize he hasn't.

The night began well for Buchholz, who retired the first nine hitters he faced, marking the first time since April 18 that he had the opposition scoreless through the first three innings.

But then Buchholz allowed a single and a two-run homers in the fourth. And then did it again in the fifth. And then again in that same inning. That's been the big tease all season -- a few innings of dominance, more than wiped out by big hits with men on base.

He's got a 6.35 ERA. It's hard to find a reason why he should make his next start.

 

You can't say that Jackie Bradley Jr. didn't go down swinging.

He swung at the second pitch of the first inning and hit to the warning track in right, where it was caught.

After a weak comebacker in the third, Bradley crushed a pitch to the center field wall, close to 400 feet. That, too, was caught.

In his final at-bat, with the crowd on its feet in anticipation, Bradley swung at the first pitch and rolled out to second base.

It was nice -- and plenty of fun -- while it lasted.

Now, the attention focuses on Xander Bogaerts, who has his own streak going at 19 games.

 

David Ortiz has had a nice month this week.

Ortiz was at it again Thursday, slamming a two-run homer into the home bullpen in the first, then doubling off The Wall in the fourth.

He finished the night 2-for-5, but for the homestand was 10-for-23. Of those 10 hits, eight were for extra bases -- six doubles and two homers -- and he knocked in 11 runs in six games.

Also, for the first time in his career, Ortiz has knocked in multiple runs in four straight games.

 

Heath Hembree continues to be an important part of the bullpen.

The Red Sox don't necessarily have a designated long man, but Hembree is the closest thing they have to one.

He came in in the sixth and turned in three innings in which he allowed just one run -- and that one was unearned.

This marked the ninth time in 12 appearances this season that Hembree has pitched more than an inning.

 

Tanguay: Boggs deserved to have his number retired by Red Sox

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Tanguay: Boggs deserved to have his number retired by Red Sox

Wade Boggs gets a bad rap around here.

Yes, he rode the horse at Yankee Stadium. Yes, he wore his Yankee World Series ring as he and his 1986 Red Sox teammates were honored at Fenway Park last night. And there is the whole Margo Adams affair that landed said mistress in Penthouse and Wade on 20/20 with Barbara Walters. My God, he even cried for Barbara. Plus, he was labelled selfish for wanting to hit for a higher average as opposed to hitting home runs.

He was a walking controversy.

But he was also a hell of a player who deserves to have his number 26 (sorry, Lou Merloni) on the right-field facade.

Over his eleven seasons with the Sox he hit .338 with an .890 OPS and averaged 190 hits each season. He was the East Coast Tony Gwynn. Unlike Wade, Gwynn was a media favorite playing in laid-back San Diego who always had a smile on his face. Boggs sported a perpetual scowl, unless he was on the road with Ms. Adams.

While we can reminisce about strange and crazy time Boggs had in Boston off the field, it should be noted that he was a great player. He is, after all, a Hall of Famer – you know, the Cooperstown kind and not just the Red Sox Hall of Fame.

He was stuck in the Sox farm system until he was 24 years old. The book on him said great hitter but so-so fielder. Boggs worked his butt off at becoming a very good third baseman. Eventually, he won back-to-back Gold Gloves with the Yankees in 1994 and' 95.

At the plate his number were staggering. In 1987 he had a OPS of 1.049 and had over 200 hits in each season for seven straight years. In 1985, he had 240 hits! He won five batting titles for Boston. 

It's too bad that Margo Adams and riding the horse at Yankee Stadium has overshadowed his Red Sox career. On the field it was awesome, and to this day is greatly unappreciated by Red Sox fans.

Great guy? Nah. Great player? Yeah.