The Bobby Valentine era in Boston will begin at around 5:30 p.m. and it promises to be anything but dull.
It is entirely possible Valentine, 61, will be exactly what the Red Sox need, given the obvious lack of clubhouse discipline that marked the end of the Francona regime. He has a huge personality – smart and smart-alecky. He can be slick, and he can be abrasive, and he knows which situations call for which. He has none of Francona’s self-deprecating modesty, but his players also won’t have any doubts as to who is in charge.
Still, the risk with Valentine is significant. He is an inherently political animal, highly skilled at building alliances and using them to his benefit. But when those alliances unravel, as tends to happen when a team vastly underperforms, it can go bad quickly. Valentine’s history is littered with clashes with both his players and his bosses. Putting him in the media-driven, high-intensity fishbowl of Fenway Park only heightens the scrutiny and the pressure.