Though Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine is still insisting that his team can make the postseason – that’s what a manager is supposed to say, even when his team is 58-61, as the Red Sox are now, and 12 ½ games behind the first place Yankees – there isn’t the usual postseason buzz to a mid-August Yankees-Red Sox series.
And yet, there is one very definite positive benefit for the Yankees to whip the Red Sox soundly in this upcoming three-game set, and one possible side benefit: the Yanks can just about wipe out the Red Sox’s chances of a wild card spot, and in so doing end Bobby Valentines’ career as a manager in the major leagues.
Realistically, the Red Sox would have to win, oh, let’s say 30 of their remaining 43 games. Their chance practically comes down to zero if the Yankees were to sweep. In fact, their chances dip to almost zero if the Yanks take 2 of 3.
And what would the side benefit of that be? There’s almost no better scenario imaginable for a Yankee fan than seeing the Red Sox KOed and to see Valentine get canned. Yes, I know, Red Sox president Larry Lucchino said yesterday that Valentine will not be fired this season – in fact, when asked by a Boston radio show host whether Valentine would “unequivocally” retain the job till at least the final regular season game, Lucchino answered, “Yes.”
That means, of course, that Valentine’s head is on the block with the Yankee blade about to descend on his neck. Of course, as former New York Times columnist Murray Chass put it last week on his website, the more satisfying prospect might be for the Red Sox to retain Valentine: “I don’t think they should fire him,” writes Chass, “They should have to endue every day of their two-year contract with him. I have said the two of them deserve each other … and what better way to fulfill their blessed union than keeping them together.”
Actually, I think that’s too much to ask for, but in truth there’s much to be said, from a Yankee fan’s point of view, of going either way with Bobby. New York fans, especially those who remember his last season with the Mets, 2002, when every day he was either feuding with some local writer or flogging one of his players, are probably evenly split as to whether they’d most enjoy seeing Valentine fired again (and this would surely be his last major league job) or watching him continue to torture and be tortured by the Red Sox.
Valentine is the kind of manager the front office hires when they want their players to be publicly humiliated the way Kevin Youkilis was a short time ago when Valentine questioned his “desire” to win. Now Red Sox players are tweeting their complaints to anyone who will listen, and the lowlifes in management who fired Terry Francona (who managed Boston to the only two World Series championships they’ve had since Betty White got her driver’s permit) are, according to recent reports, are now encouraging players to come in the back door and complain directly to them about their manager.
That’s so Red Sox.
The truly extraordinary thing is that the firing of Bobby Valentine might be the one thing that, however briefly, could bring Yankees and Red Sox fans together.