Former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling has caused a minor stir among Red Sox fans over the last week with his pointed opinion that perhaps Bobby Valentine isn’t the right fit for the Red Sox.
Currently an ESPN analyst, Schilling first made the comments on ESPN’s Baseball Tonight when talking about Valentine’s perceived mismanaging of the Daniel Bard situation and continued on various Boston sports radio talk shows.
One of the remarks seemed to indicate Schilling wasn’t just spouting off, rather giving an informed opinion on what was going on in the Red Sox clubhouse.
“When you talk to these (Red Sox players) -- and I'm still talking to some of these guys -- I don't think this is going well (with Valentine),” Schilling said in interview on Boston sports radio station WEEI. “And I think it's going bad quicker than I expected it to."
It’s still unclear how much of what Schilling is saying is strictly his opinion and how much is based on conversations he’s having with Red Sox players.
Schilling was saying more of the same Monday in an interview with Colin Cowherd on ESPN Radio, again sensing an “oil and water” mix between Bobby V and the players on the team.
Here’s an excerpt (full video above):
“I like Bobby, a lot. I think he’s a good guy. Very smart guy. I think he has an incredible passion, he’s a baseball lifer. Those things don’t always translate. Just because you want to be something doesn’t mean you can be. I didn’t feel like that was the right fit here.
“Then I came back after his (introductory) press conference, I thought, ‘Wow this guy’s changed, things are different.’ But I’m not so sure they are. I think that (the players are) going to deal with a lot of the things in the media and on the publicity side of this that with maybe somebody else here they wouldn’t. And I don’t think that’s a good thing here in Boston. I think the Bard situation was mishandled. I think there’s some cryptic stuff going on.
“I know it’s simplistic, but I think the day and age of managing 25 players as one unit are over. As much as I don’t like to say they, we’re at a different time and a different era. The manager’s impact of wins and losses I think has changed more in baseball than any professional sport. I think they have very little to do with the 9 innings and 3 hours of game play each night. I think their jobs have become, I’d say babysitting, but I think their jobs have become managing personnel. And Bobby is a guy that is interested in trying to making you understand how much he knows about the game.
“That’s not necessarily a bad thing. I think Buck Showalter is the same way. They’re very smart baseball people. Players don’t grow up living and breathing the game anymore. I came up to the big leagues I knew the stats of Frank Robinson long before I played for Frank Robinson. I was a huge baseball fan.
"That’s not the case anymore. I think that there’s less of an appreciation for baseball IQ than there used to be. I think that’s one of Bobby’s strengths, but I don’t know if that serves him well in this clubhouse or in this market.
“There’s way more structure and discipline in Japan (where Valentine last managed) than there is in the United Staes. It’s not even close. And that to me is a big deal. Over here, one of the reasons Terry (Francona) was able to do what he did was because he didn’t worry about the little stuff. And Bobby’s entire life is caught up in the little stuff. Micromanaging bunt drills, I don’t think that’s a problem. I don’t think that was ever a problem here to begin with.
“I just feel like this is not going to go the way people had hoped. I thought there were different choices that could have been made here (to be manager), from a personality perspective, knowing some of the guys on this team. I’m not so sure that this isn’t going to be an oil and a water mix early on, especially if they don’t get out to a really good start.”