ESPN had an oops moment yesterday with the breaking news that Bobby Valentine was fired.
As the entire world knows — and to the surprise of no one — Bobby Valentine was let go as manager of the Boston Red Sox after one season even as the worldwide leader in sports aired a report (see video below) that he was getting a second chance. Apparently Tim Kurkjian was trying to cover all the “bases.”
Valentine was brought in, at least in part, because he was perceived as an old-school disciplinarian who would straighten out the Red Sox clubhouse after last season’s September collapse.
But for various reasons, Bobby V turned out to be more passive than aggressive, with a seemingly incoherent, scattered approach to both on-field strategy and communicating with the media and players. He also reportedly had a poor relationship with his coaches.
Valentin was fired yesterday morning at a breakfast meeting at the home of Red Sox president Larry Lucchino with owners John Henry and Tom Werner and GM Ben Cherington in attendance.
The Boston Globe summarizes the Bobby Valentine era with the Red Sox:
“The bumptious Bobby V made a litany of managerial missteps, from antagonizing Kevin Youkilis to feuding with inherited coaches to not knowing what arm Minnesota pitcher Liam Hendriks threw with to mockingly threatening to punch radio host Glenn Ordway to declaring his team had the ‘weakest roster we’ve ever had in September in the history of baseball.’ “
The Boston Herald expressed similar thoughts about Valentine’s tenure:
“And while it would be reductive to pin everything on Valentine, it’s now clear he lost his clubhouse almost on Day 1, when he began mispronouncing the names of his players, ticked off a number of veterans by airing out Mike Aviles during a fielding drill, and engaged in a number of ‘look at me’ moments that had his charges rolling their eyes before the season had even started.”
ESPN, however, accidentally aired a Tim Kurkjian report that Valentine was returning as Red Sox manager for the 2013 baseball season. Apparently Kurkjian prepared two reports just in case, and ESPN ran with the wrong one.
As Larry Brown Sports reports:
“Unfortunately, after the Red Sox announced Valentine would not be back, SportsCenter aired the report saying he would be returning. The result was a humorous conflicting message from ESPN; the scroll on the left side of the screen read ‘Bobby Valentine fired,’ while Kurkjian was telling us in a prerecorded report that he’d be receiving a second chance.”
As Deadspin explains, “Chris McKendry did her best to bring viewers back to reality, though. Poor Kurkjian. All the work he exerted enumerating those great reasons for Valentine’s return—Injuries! Terrible pitching!—just went to waste.”
Watch Tim Kurkjian report on ESPN that Bobby Valentine was getting a second chance to manage the Red Sox: