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Is the Red Sox clubhouse toxic? I know, this is an age-old question. But, we may finally have our answer.
Let’s just say it’s an absolute YES.
Yahoo!’s Jeff Passan reported Tuesday about an explosive meeting on July 26 during the team’s off-day. Red Sox owners called the meeting after receiving a text message from Adrian Gonzalez, who was complaining about Bobby V’s decision to leave Jon Lester in a game in which he allowed 11 runs (four home runs and five walks) in 4-plus innings in a 15-7 loss to the Blue Jays on July 22.
“The intent of the meeting was to provide a forum for people to express whatever frustration needed to be expressed at a time during the season when things were not going exactly the way we wanted to on the field in hopes that we could put whatever issues were there aside and focus on playing games the rest of the season. That was the intent of the meeting. That was the focus of ownership. It was a productive meeting,” Ben Cherington told Passan. “Since then, we have not gone on the run we were supposed to.”
Sources told Passan the tenor of the meeting quickly turned ugly with Gonzalez and Dustin Pedroia among the most vocal about their displeasure with Valentine. Several players even said they could not play for Bobby V, but officials assured them that despite the near mutiny, Valentine would remain the team’s manager for the rest of the season.
In all, 17 players showed up to the meeting, according to ESPN’s Buster Olney.
“I don’t think it’s that uncommon for complaints to be made during the season,” Cherington told Passan. “I’m not going to comment specifically on those complaints. Our owners felt, given where we were at that time in the season, given the collective frustration, we had not accomplished what we wanted to. It was time to get together and hash things out. There were no ultimatums issued. There were concerns expressed. Some very positive things expressed, too. We felt that it was an opportunity to get things off people’s chests and move forward.”
Olney also reported that the players simply could not get past Bobby V’s remarks at the beginning of the season about Kevin Youkilis, when he said Youk was not as “emotionally or physically into the game as he once was.”
So by the end of April, Valentine had already lost his team.
That truth was even more evident in an alleged photo circulating around the Red Sox clubhouse that shows a sleeping Bobby Valentine with the caption “our manager contemplating his lineup at 3:30 p.m.”
What do you make of this mess?