Valentine of course could yet survive. We seek not to bury him here. No one but a few stray fools claims it's all his fault. The melodrama still plays out as this is written and so far he's handled himself reasonably in the midst of the firestorm swirling about him. You had to particularly like his blunt and unequivocal assertion that this contretemps has NOT been created by the media even as some dim-witted members of said local media were saying it was. One assumes they do so in a pathetic attempt to ingratiate themselves with the owners who aside from CEO Lucchino are AWOL in this messy business. And would someone please advise principle owner, John Henry, that he can spare us any more pious press releases presumably crafted by his resident super-flac, Dr. Whatshisname. The search for "goats" yields no end to candidates. If the media didn't create this mess that doesn't mean the media won't enjoy it.
Actually the classic example of a team rebelling against its manager did not star our Red Sox but rather the historically tame (relatively) Cleveland Indians. In 1940 the Indians had a fine team starring Kennie Keltner, Lou Boudreau, Hal Trosky, Jeff Heath, and that incomparable fireballer, Bobby Feller, who was a mere 27-11 that year. They were leading the league despite constant friction with their manager, a cranky baseball-lifer named Ossie Vitt with whom they'd been feuding three years, when the situation finally exploded in June of 1940.
Quite beside themselves, the players demanded a showdown with Owner Alva Bradley. Here's how the conversation went between the players and the owner as detailed by Feller in his fine 1947 autobiography.
"We tried to paint the picture with Bradley, as we saw it," Feller writes.
"He makes everybody nervous,'' someone said.
"He pops off too much to newspapermen," said another.
"He showboats too much," was a third comment.
"He flies into rages in the dugout during games," somebody added.
"He tears us down to other teams," chipped in another.
Through it all, Feller wrote: "Bradley sat there, shifting his gaze as we spoke." But in the end, he did nothing. The next day, the story broke. Someone had squealed and there were scalding headlines. "It was June 13," Feller writes "Paris had fallen to the Nazi Germans the very same day the Indians rose against their manager." Which of course, he points out, only made them seem more ridiculous. Within a week they were the laughingstock of the league to be branded "Cry-Babies" forevermore. Vitt remained their manager as they lost the pennant to the Tigers, by one game.
One can imagine this Red Sox scenario ending up in roughly the same way. Of course we won't know for sure until one of them lets the cat out of the bag, maybe years from now. Frankly, I can wait.
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