Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Intense manager Bobby Valentine keeps Boston Red Sox on the move

Bobby Valentine gets involved by throwing to Carl Crawford.

Associated Press

Bobby Valentine gets involved by throwing to Carl Crawford.

FORT MYERS — The pace Bobby Valentine has set in his first camp as Red Sox manager can best be described as a blur.

Blink, and you might miss him.

Valentine, 61, moves like a man half his age, pacing quickly from field to field behind Fenway South. He's on each diamond for only a minute or two, drawing a crowd of fans as he goes.

At one, Valentine offers instruction during pitchers' fielding practice. Next, he pulls a video camera out of his jacket pocket to record a drill. In what Valentine calls the "no-shag camp," there's no standing around. And it starts with Valentine's hands-on approach, even playing catch with right-hander Daisuke Matsuzaka, surprising the Japanese right-hander.

"I couldn't keep up with him," general manager Ben Cherington said. "He eats and sleeps and breathes baseball and spends every waking moment trying to think of ways to help players and help the team get better. I'm not surprised to see him so active."

After its collapse in September, losing a nine-game lead and the wild card to the Rays, Boston decided it needed a change. The Red Sox parted ways with the more laid-back Terry Francona, hiring the in-your-face Valentine.

The change has been more than just Valentine's much-publicized decision to ban beer from the clubhouse. Valentine, who served as an ESPN analyst after managerial stints with the Rangers, Mets and Chiba Lotte Marines (Japan), is more forthcoming. He hasn't been afraid to fan the flames of the Yankees rivalry, including praising now-retired catcher Jason Varitek for how he "beat up" Alex Rodriguez in 2004.

Red Sox players say Valentine is just as blunt with them, telling pitchers in their first meeting they "stunk" in fielding last year. To get the point across, one of three flat screens in the clubhouse had highlights of pitchers from around the league making plays with the glove.

"I've never seen anyone approach a spring training or deal with players quite the way he does," right-hander Daniel Bard said. "But it's different in a good way.

"I'm curious to see how it plays out over the course of spring and the whole season. But he's brought a lot of intensity and energy, and those are all things we need."

With Valentine, there's a method to his madness. The cameras, which all coaches have, are for later evaluation. He explains his rapid movement from field to field as "inspecting what you expect," following up on what he asked the coaches to instruct.

Bench coach Tim Bogar, who played for Valentine with the Mets, said he hasn't changed much. He's a great teacher who is organized and seems to "see everything." Bogar, a coach with the Rays in 2008, says he sees similarities between Valentine and Rays manager Joe Maddon.

"They're both forward-thinkers; think out of the box but also don't settle for the ordinary," Bogar said.

And as for Valentine rarely settling into the same spot at camp, he offered another quip.

"If I sat down," Valentine said, "I'd probably go to sleep."

Yankees respond

TAMPA — Alex Rodriguez had little patience for Bobby Valentine's antagonistic comments about the Yankees. Derek Jeter seemed bemused.

Tuesday, Valentine said Jeter didn't need to make his famous flip to home in the 2001 playoffs. He also fondly recalled when Boston's Jason Varitek "beat up" Rodriguez in 2004.

Wednesday, Rodriguez laughed it off: "I'm not going to win many battles here when it comes to words, especially against Bobby."

Said Jeter: "Why are we talking about this, really? He must be bored over there, huh? I don't understand."

Times wires

Intense manager Bobby Valentine keeps Boston Red Sox on the move 02/29/12 [Last modified: Wednesday, February 29, 2012 9:32pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rays beat Orioles, but tough stretch looms that could change their plans (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Tuesday was a step back in the right direction for the Rays, who halted a season-high five-game losing streak by hanging on — and we mean that pretty much literally — for a 5-4 win over the Orioles.

    The Rays’ Tim Beckham celebrates with Mallex Smith after hitting a three-run homer in the second inning for a 5-0 lead.
  2. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Tuesday's Rays-Orioles game

    The Heater

    Rookie RHP Jake Faria had his lucky rubber duck — OG, the original one he has had since high school — with him, and the Rays had nothing to worry about as he put his rocky Wednesday outing well behind him, working into the eighth while scattering seven hits.

  3. Rays journal: Rookie Jacob Faria continues to show veteran poise

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The Orioles threatened in the first inning and the second. They loaded the bases with one out in the fifth inning with the top of the order up and seemed poised for a big inning. But those opportunities produced only one run because Rays rookie RHP Jacob Faria kept his composure and got the …

    Jacob Faria goes a career-high 71/3 innings, staying composed when the Orioles threaten.
  4. Rays vs. Orioles, 12:10 p.m. Wednesday, Tropicana Field

    Sports

    Today: vs. Orioles

    12:10, Tropicana Field

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM

    Tickets: $15-$275; available at Tropicana Field box office, raysbaseball.com, surcharge of up to $5 within 5 hours of game time.

    PORT CHARLOTTE, FL - FEBRUARY 18:  Alex Cobb #53 of the Tampa Bay Rays poses for a portrait during the Tampa Bay Rays photo day on February 18, 2017 at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Floida.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
  5. Bruce Arena blends intense demands with humor to lead U.S. soccer

    Soccer

    SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Bruce Arena bites his fingernails religiously, a habit he has had since age 10.

    Among some other unmentionables.

    Bruce Arena