Commentary & Photo by Jacqueline Bennett newsandviewsjb                                              

Canned. It came as no surprise when the Boston Red Sox fired embattled manager Bobby Valentine earlier this week. He was let go after one season and the worst record in decades. The disappointing turn of events that resulted in Valentine’s demise were compounded for fans like myself by the fact that this debacle of a season ran concurrent to the celebration of the 100th anniversary of storied Fenway Park.

My dad used to sit in the living room with what he called his “crying towel” and feign tears as he watched Red Sox games because they so often shot themselves in the foot and came up with a loss. Nonetheless, he remained a loyal fan. He was also a man of unmatched integrity and principles. I can only imagine what his comments would have been regarding the conduct by Valentine that spurred this season’s downward spiral.

It didn’t take long for morale to go sour under Valentine’s leadership. Back in April in newsandviewsjb I wrote about the controversy Valentine stirred up at the onset of the 2012 season with his public criticism of Kevin Youkilis on WHDH’s Sports Xtra, when Valentine said he not think Youkilis was as “physically and emotionally into the game as he has been in the past.” Reaction from his teammates was swift and it turned out to be all downhill from there. Dustin Pedroia put Valentine on notice saying to fault a player through the media was not the way to go.

Valentine might as well have called for Youkilis to be placed in a stockade on Boston Common. Oh wait, though part of our Colonial history that kind of public humiliation went out with three corner hats and muskets.

Perhaps, if Valentine had handled himself differently as time went on he could have begun to build respect and confidence among the team as a whole. Clearly, that never happened. Reportedly, as the season unfolded Valentine also alienated assistant coaches, and “mocked” questions from the media.

On October 4 Red Sox management put out a statement, the full text of which is available on redsox.com, about Valentine’s dismissal placing some of the blame on a long injury list that plagued the team.

“No single issue is the reason, and no single individual is to blame, ” said Executive Vice President/General Manager Ben Cherington,  “With a historic number of injuries Bobby was dealt a difficult hand.”

Caught in an impromptu interview with reporters after his firing Valentine said, “This is not the press conference I was expecting at the end of the season.” He added, “A lot of things didn’t go well but an experienced manager is suppose to put his finger in the dike and keep the water on the other side.”

One does not have to be an expert baseball analyst or know this game inside out, or any other sport inside out for that matter, to know right from wrong. How one conducts himself or herself in any arena in life is the foundation, the compass, the story to be told. Granted, anyone can make a mistake. It is where one goes from there that matters. It is obvious where Valentine went.