Bobby V: The early returns

February, 23, 2012
2/23/12
9:18
AM ET
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- A steady procession of national media have already been through camp, drawn in part by the presence of new manager Bobby Valentine.

Here are some of the early returns:

* Jeff Passan, Yahoo! Sports: After nine years away from the major leagues, Bobby V was back. And he made sure everybody knew it…If there is baseball knowledge, truth or aphorism, Valentine tucks it deep into the reservoir inside his head, from which he later can pluck it. Between his 10 seasons playing in the major leagues and 15 years managing, Valentine has soaked in enough wisdom to at least buttress his arrogance. Yes, he thinks he knows a lot. Probably because he does.

* Ken Rosenthal, Fox Sports: I’m not sure Valentine will succeed with the Red Sox, not sure the players will respond to his non-stop energy after eight seasons under the more relaxed Terry Francona. But if the players need to be snapped to attention, as management clearly believes, then Valentine is the right guy.

* Joe Lemire, SI.com: There have been plenty of knocks on Valentine over the years, ranging from his overbearing personality to a perceived arrogance to an underwhelming career record (.510 winning percentage and two playoff appearances in 15 seasons, though he did win a championship in Japan).
The Sox believe Valentine will incorporate the best from each of his varied experiences and be the leader this club needs. “Spring training's the opportunity to let the manager become the voice of the team," Ben Cherington said.

* Jon Heyman, CBSSports.com: Valentine isn't just a culture change around here, he is going to represent a culture shock for many of the players who were used to Tito Francona. Francona was beloved for protecting the players forever, right up until the point where they ran over him so badly even they knew they needed a change. Well, this is that change. They're got Valentine, a brilliant baseball guy who knows baseball talent and strategy and isn't afraid to let you know it. He also knows more baseball than any 10 of them combined and really can light up a stadium or certainly a room (unlike Art Howe, the man who succeeded him in New York, and was said to have won the job by owner Fred Wilpon by lighting up the room, an impossibility).

* Tyler Kepner, New York Times: Valentine has a history of absorbing distractions -- some self-created -- and deflecting attention away from his players. It would be na´ve to think his presence can shift the spotlight entirely, because the Boston news media are too vigilant for that. But Valentine thrives on shaping the conversation. On reporting day, the favorite son of Stamford, Conn., did not miss his chance.

“I grew up waiting for the grass to get green and the tulips to come up and the weather to warm and the snow to melt,” Valentine said. “It was the greatest part of the year for me. It was more than Christmas, it was more than birthdays, for me, and a lot of people from our region empathize with that and understand it’s a new beginning. That’s what spring is. It’s a time for excitement.”

Gordon Edes

Red Sox reporter, ESPNBoston.com

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