Baseball Insiders <3 New Sox Manager

Dec. 1, 2011

Boston Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine, second from right, joins hands with team management during a news conference at Fenway Park in Boston, Thursday Dec. 1, 2011. From left to right are Red Sox President Larry Lucchino, General Manager Ben Cherington, Valentine, and majority owner John Henry. (AP)  

BOSTON — Former New York Mets manager Bobby Valentine has been named the new manager of the Boston Red Sox, taking over from Terry Francona — and Red Sox Nation now has to get to know a leader very different from what they’ve been used to.
No one can predict how the team will perform under new management, but baseball insiders agree on one fact: Mr. Personality has come to town.
David Lennon covered Valentine as the New York Mets beat writer for Newsday.

Listen to WGBH News' complete conversation with David Lennon.

Valentine, Lennon told WGBH News’ Jordan Weinstein, is “entertaining. There’s never a dull moment with him in the manager’s office…. That said, as any strong personality does, he can cause friction in some areas.”

“He talks a lot,” sports analyst Bob Lobel said on “The Emily Rooney Show” on Dec. 1. “He can’t edit himself. He doesn’t stop.”
That’s unlike the quiet and reserved Francona.
“It’s not unusual, certainly, for teams to choose a different manager, a different type of personality manager to follow another,” Lennon said.
“He’s the first star manager the team has ever hired,” Lobel said. “He’s a brilliant baseball guy but as a human being he’s going to take some time to get to know.”
What about his skills in the clubhouse?
Lennon praised them, saying that Valentine’s managerial ability was so strong that he got the Mets to the World Series in 2000 even though the team was relatively weak.
Valentine has never won a division — the Mets got to that Series as a wild card. But Lennon said that didn’t matter.
“If there’s one reason to knock Bobby Valentine… having not won a division title I think is probably not the spot to go after,” Lennon said. “He’s managed teams that have won 90-plus games.” Anyway, Valentine’s Mets were up against the then-dynastic Atlanta Braves.
When it comes to the head-to-head battle for the 2012 AL East, “I certainly think he can match wits and match tactics with any other manager in that division,” Lennon said.
And maybe it doesn’t really even matter. “I think picking a manager is way overrated,” Lobel said. “They got him. That’s fine. Now it’s time to move on.”
Lobel added, “It’s going to be fun.”

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