David Ortiz Rips Into Bobby Valentine In His New Book and It Makes Everyone Look Bad

by Jake Archer | Posted on Thursday, May 11th, 2017
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David Ortiz is releasing a new book called “Papi: My Story” on May 16th and an excerpt was just released detailing what Ortiz and his Red Sox teammates thought of former Boston Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine. Here is the excerpt.

“I had never met Bobby Valentine before 2011. I’d heard of him, seen him on TV and remembered that he was the guy who’d put on a fake mustache to avoid being recognized and thrown out of a game. But I didn’t know the man, so that left me with an interesting decision at the end of the year: Should I listen to my friends, or pretend that I’d never heard a word they said?

Everyone I knew was unimpressed with Valentine, the new manager of the Red Sox. He was hired in late November 2011, and the negative reaction from my baseball friends was instant. There were the sarcastic “good luck” messages. There were ominous warnings to get ready. Some even suggested that, at 36 years old, I probably wanted to retire rather than play for someone like him.

I’m a person who has been able to get along with a range of personalities, pretty much everybody, so I tried to block out all the information I had. I tried not to think about the fact that the Red Sox never asked my opinion on players they were thinking about signing or managers they wanted to hire. I found out on the news, just like everyone else, that Valentine was our new manager. I did some research and learned that there was basically one person in the organization, team president Larry Lucchino, who really wanted to hire Valentine. That was it. One person. Still, I had to perform regardless of who was managing. How bad could Bobby V really be?

The drama began almost immediately in spring training. I remember fighting the thought, very early, We’re going to have an absolutely terrible year.

It was all about him in the spring. It was as if he wanted to prove how smart he was by running us through all these drills he’d used while managing in Japan, drills we had never done before. Bobby was in his own bubble, and I just wanted to get him out of it and tell him, “Fuck you.”

He asked for a lot of changes, including some that were completely unnecessary. One of the more ridiculous ones was having players hit grounders to each other. I thought that was funny, especially for me. The Red Sox weren’t paying me to hit grounders; I was there to hit balls to the moon.

The problem was not that his drills were new. The bigger issue was how he expected players who had been in the big leagues a long time to immediately do things his way without any missteps. There had been a lot of conversations about our team the year before and how our lack of accountability led to our September collapse. Maybe Bobby was told to come in and boss around full-grown men. Maybe the Red Sox wanted to hire a daddy, not a manager.

One day we were doing his drills and the shit hit the fan. We were hitting pop-ups, and Bobby had said that he didn’t want infielders to say, “I’ve got it, I’ve got it. . . .” He thought that was an unreliable way of calling off a teammate because, in a noisy stadium, the player who’s being called off might not hear his teammate taking control. Well, all players have habits. And in American baseball, most infielders taking the play say, “I got it.”

So when our shortstop, Mike Aviles, got under a ball, he instinctively said, “I got it.” Bobby snapped. It was unlike anything I had ever seen in the majors. He went off on Aviles, cussing and verbally tearing him down in front of everyone. If it had been me, I would have gone up to him, right in front of the fans and dropped a punch.

After that workout, I talked with Dustin Pedroia and Adrián González. We decided to meet with Bobby in his office and attempt to tell him how he was being perceived. It was a waste of time. We tried reasoning with him, and it was like communicating with a wall. All he did was roll his eyes and look everywhere but at us. It could not have been more obvious that he didn’t care what we had to say. We left his office shaking our heads.

I was competitive enough to think that we could win a bunch of games despite Bobby’s ego. It didn’t take long for me to realize I’d been too optimistic. And when I say not long, I mean the first series of the season. We opened in Detroit and were swept by the Tigers. It was impossible to ignore the comments from my teammates about Bobby’s managing, how he made decisions that didn’t make sense and how generally clueless and distant he was. The next stop on our trip was Toronto. On the flight there, I experienced a first in my career.

Bobby’s seat was in the middle of the plane, and the players were in the back. That day I was near the front of our section. I remember looking up and seeing a line of my teammates walking toward me. They were pissed. They said, “We want that motherfucker fired before the airplane lands.”

That right there, is a lot to digest. There is more to it too, but I just wanted to give you that piece because it’s the most important part. First off, I just want to say that the 2012 season with Bobby Valentine was awful in every possible way. He did not click with the players and a lot of people have complained about him, so I’m pretty sure there is an issue with his ego. He doesn’t sound good, plain and simple.

However, I think this also reflects really poorly on Ortiz, his teammates and the front office as well. Trust me, Ortiz has every right to have an ego and be cocky and pretty much do whatever he wants, but this comes off very whiny. To me, it just sounds like Ortiz and his teammates didn’t even give the guy a chance at all and immediately started pouting about a guy telling them to do something a different way.

I don’t blame the Red Sox for trying to change up the culture with a guy like Valentine because I think that Sox team did need a wakeup call and a kick in the ass. For Ortiz to say he would have “dropped a punch” on Valentine is annoying too because that never would have happened and he’s just talking tough.

I’m no expert, but I’ve heard different things about the inner workings of that particular season and everything I heard is anti-players. It sounds like that team was a bunch of prima donna’s and a-holes led by guys like Adrian Gonzalez and Josh Beckett. Now, there are two sides to every story, so in my mind there was that element, but also the element of Valentine being abrasive and not the guy for the job.

The overarching problem through all of this though is the Red Sox front office, specifically Larry Lucchino. Lucchino has been known to do a lot of things that Sox fans have hated in the past and this is just another thing to add to the list. The fact that no one in the organization besides him wanted Valentine and yet they still hired Valentine, says something. It’s also a bit annoying that the Red Sox never asked their best player’s opinion on players and managers. I’m not saying David Ortiz should have been calling the shots, but he should have had some advisory input.

The number one most concerning thing about this whole piece though, comes later in the excerpt when Ortiz talks about how everyone in the organization knew Valentine was terrible, yet the front office said no change would be made during the season. That worries me because I don’t want that to be a strict policy. If the Sox continue to play mediocre baseball and the team knows John Farrell needs to go, I don’t want them hanging on for the heck of it.

Regardless, this Ortiz book should be pretty entertaining considering he’s not afraid to say what he thinks at all. I know I’ll be buying it at some point and I’m excited to read more.

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Jake Archer
About the Author

Jake is a sports blogger with a passion for baseball and the Red Sox. He loves pitcher's duels, ballpark food and listening to games on the radio. He's got some strong opinions on things like pace-of-play, the DH rule and more. Follow him on Twitter at @jarcher04.







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