Bobby Valentine is the new Red Sox Manager

So today I’m getting texts and people want to know my thoughts on Bobby Valentine being named manager of one of baseball’s Cadillac teams.

The truth is, I don’t really have many thoughts on it. I kind of wished that Bobby V. would have gotten the Cincinnati Reds managerial job over Dusty Baker–but then again I find myself talking to my inner voice saying that baseball managers really don’t matter.

I think guys like Baker and Valentine are proof of that. You could stick a lot of figures surrounding the game of baseball in that Boston clubhouse and they might be able to right the ship. Whether Boston wins the series next season or finishes in fourth, I don’t think that Valentine will have a whole lot to do with it. A baseball manager’s best work is done when he quietly reminds you of the things you already know. Do I think Valentine has mastered that art? For as long as he’s been around the game it’s likely.

Just give me a guy who doesn’t rock the boat. A guy with just the right emotional balance to weather everything for 162 games. Sometimes that means just not doing anything to screw it up.

At the same time, every once in a while that’s not enough. Baker is a prime example of that with his lineup cards. A lot of people think Valentine is a proverbial dope. I guess I’m not one of those people entirely–but I think he’s an acquired taste. He’s just a guy who says stupid things sometimes. We’ve all been guilty of that at times in our workplace.

There’s a couple of good tales below on young Valentine no matter what side of the fence you sit on. In regards to my deepest thoughts on the hiring; I really don’t care. I think the guy will have about as much success as anyone that would have stepped into the position. Tim Kurkjian says it’s a home run hire. It’s Boston. The playoff field has been expanded. They’re going to spend money, and they’re likely going to win.

Meeting Bobby Valentine on New Year’s Eve | Return visit to Bobby Valentine’s

The Latest in Jose Canseco Developments: It would appear he’s out to make a buck

So I called Jose’s people. And instead of inviting me to “come on down,” or just replying “no thank you,” the man at the other end of the telephone told me a funny story. “Jose doesn’t do interviews for free,” he said. “He doesn’t do anything for free. And the price for an interview like the one you want starts at $2,000.” [Yahoo Big League Stew]

Grady Sizemore might not be leaving the Indians after all

Two weeks ago we were singing another sad tune about Cleveland sports. We were talking about what could have been. Now it turns out that it might have been for naught.

Hardball Talk points out that Grady Sizemore might be headed back to Cleveland:

Sources tell FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal than the Indians and Grady Sizemore are involved in serious talks and will likely agree to a one-year deal.

So I guess this means that we’ll have to do another Grady Sizemore farewell post when he finally does leave Cleveland. For what it’s worth we still have a sneaking suspicion that Sizemore doesn’t re-sign with the Indians and goes elsewhere to have a really nice season and rejuvenate his career. Because that’s how things go for Cleveland.

MLB’s Health and Upcoming Labor Deal

Major League Baseball is close to finalizing a new labor agreement that would extend peace for 20 years.

This is good news–it exhibits that baseball is possibly in the best long-term health of any of the three major sports. That said, with anything that is a positive there is usually some type of drawback.

The following would be stipulations of the new labor agreement:

  1. It will pave the way for realignment of the sport into two 15-team leagues, adding an additional wild-card team in each league.
  2. Interleague play will be spread evenly throughout all six months of the regular season.
  3. Significant changes to the draft, free agency and the so-called “Competitive Balance Tax.”

Sources won’t predict how soon a deal could be finalized but it is speculated that these rumored changes would be in effect by the 2013 season.

I’m indifferent on how I feel about it. I feel like the return to the 15-team leagues is pretty old school. I like it. I think adding an additional playoff team puts added incentive on being the #1 seed entering the playoffs and does a nice job of keeping fan interest up for those that follow the game. It’s like an extra lottery ticket added to the raffle. Some will argue that it dilutes the significance of making the playoffs; but I’d rather this than having just the top two teams from each league square off.

Interleague play I’ve never had a problem with. It will be interesting to see how it is spread so that it’s taking place virtually every day of the regular season. Again, if you’re going to have interleague play in general, this isn’t really a drawback for me as a fan.

 

Pete Rose advises Joey Votto, A-Rod, Jay Bruce

“Then they end up texting me all the time,” Rose said. “I have play-hard credentials. No bullshit, no non-sense credentials and I think players respect that. That’s why young players like me today.”“It’s amazing what of lack of confidence some of these players have for all that money they’re making. When A-Rod texts me it’s all about just patting him on the ass and telling him how good he is. He don’t need me to tell him how to play third base, he can play third base. It’s just re-enforcing that he’s good. With Joey Votto it’s the same thing. The better the player, the less confidence they seem to have.” [Baseball Think Factory]

Ron Washington’s Game Seven F-Bomb laden Pregame Speech

As far as I’m concerned, this is like General Patton firing up his troops before a big battle. This is that good. This makes me want to throw the cleats on, swipe on some eye black and go out for nine more innings regardless of what kind of pain my 29 year old muscles are in. This makes me want to win, battle, scratch, and claw for every last out and zero we can hang on the board.

It sounds like Ron Washington got the troops plenty fired up before game seven.

WARNING: There is extreme use of use of expletives in this sound clip. Do not play this at loud volumes in a condensed area.

The Baseball Show: Introducing Tomahawk Take

Last night on The Baseball Show, Mike Rosenbaum of The Golden Sombrero and M.J. Lloyd of Off Base Percentage discussed the following topics:

-Our involvement with Tomahawk Take on the FanSided Network.

-Thoughts on the Braves shortstop situation, minor league prospects, Jason Heyward, the Jair Jurrjens rumors, and the Braves rotation for next season.

-We offer our thoughts on Derek Lowe’s departure to Cleveland.

-We talk about early hot stove off-season activity: Grady Sizemore, Prince Fielder, Jose Reyes, Hanley Ramirez, Albert Pujols and many more free agents are discussed.

-We talk about the managerial possibilities around baseball: Sandy Alomar, Terry Francona, and Ryne Sandberg.

-We debate about the importance of a manager in the game of baseball today.

-Mike talks about Ozzie Guillen’s departure from the White Sox, along with thoughts on Robin Ventura.

-As always, much more is discussed.

The Scene at Game 7 of the 2011 World Series

As a follow up to our post last week about our buddy Franco driving from Nashville to St. Louis to get into game 7 of the World Series, we provide you with a little video proof.

Not all of us had the resources–or were crazy enough–to try and be there. But if you watch this video, you can soak a little bit of what it was like that night right in.

Things slow down at about the :30 mark (after a few kids nearly get rhino trampled) and the atmosphere takes over.

Well done my friend.

See more videos and radio interviews about crashing the game 7 party at The Next Level Ball Player.

God told Josh Hamilton he would hit the dramatic World Series Home Run

The God I believe in told Josh Hamilton that he was going to hit the home run that should have won the Texas Rangers the World Series Championship before he hit it. The baseball Gods had other ideas on the World Title, ironically.

“I would tell y’all something,” he said with a grin, “but y’all wouldn’t believe me.” “The Lord told me it was going to happen before it happened,” Hamilton continued. “‘You hadn’t hit a home run in a while. You’re about to right now.’” [FOX Sports]

The Grady Sizemore in Cleveland era has come to an end

Grady Sizemore should be another strong reminder that the players we root for no matter how amazing they may seem to us–will only temporary diversions in our lives following sports.

A lot of people think the Sizemore era ended this past Monday when the Indians declined to pick up the outfielder’s 2012 option. If that was the official ending, the unofficial ending came many, many moons before. The beginning of the end came May 30th, 2009 against the Yankees in Cleveland. He homered that day off C.C. Sabathia. Let us remember that he had the Indians just a game from the World Series in 2007 after having the series of a lifetime against these same Yankees in the ALDS. Life was good then for Sizemore and Cleveland fans. It seemed then it would have no end.

But after that May 30th day, Sizemore would start to miss significant chunks of time and it would seem his 27 year old body would begin to fail him. At the beginning of September he had season ending surgery on his left elbow. He would play just 33 games the following season–needing micro-fracture surgery on his left knee.

This past season, Sizemore tore up his opposite right knee and had more micro-fracture surgery and added another hernia surgery. Instead of piling up the award hardware, Sizemore’s body became like the childhood board-game ‘Operation’.

If you visited Jacobs Field in Cleveland from 2005 to 2008 and looked out in center field just before your eyes met the picnic area, you would see him. This player was on the cover of Sports Illustrated–and called one of the great players of our generation on that same cover.

I would advise Cleveland to remember the good times. There were many.

The story didn’t have a happy ending and seemed to flame out long before we ever expected like so many figures in sports that have gone before us with seemingly no end in sight. But let’s not forget the four years of stardom and talent that Sizemore gave the fans of this game. For a short time, he was was one of the brightest stars the game had to offer.

Brandon Phillips & Joey Votto win Rawlings Gold Glove Awards

Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips deservedly won Rawlings Gold Glove Awards yesterday, with Jay Bruce narrowly missing out for the second year in a row so that MLB could award Andre Ethier with the Gold.

It was the 3rd award of such to be awarded to Phillips in four years. The Gold Glove was Joey Votto’s first.

“Defense wins games,” Phillips said. “I go out and catch the ball the best way I know how. . . The baseball field is my coliseum. I go out and entertain the fans.”

Phillips was happy for his teammate.

“Joey really worked his butt off on defense,” Phillips said. “That was our goal. We wanted ot for each other.”

Votto released this statement:

“I’d like to thank the managers and coaches who selected me. It always means a tremendous amount to be selected by your superiors for any award, especially for one of this magnitude. I’d also like to thank the Reds’ coaching staff for their help, with a special mention to bench coach Chris Speier.

“My infield teammates were an inspiration to me, and both Brandon Phillips and Scott Rolen are two players I strive to emulate and keep up with defensively. This award, of all awards I’ve won in the past, has special meaning to me. When I first started playing professional baseball I was without a position. For my first half season in the minor leagues, I was essentially a professional DH. To have come this far through hard work, perseverance and the willingness to learn is something I will always be proud of. Defense is a part of the game that can always be improved upon, and to have come as far as I have, I am an example of that.”

The AP accidentally leaked the awards a bit early.