It clearly means a lot to Bobby V that he got this job. He admitted that he didn’t dare to dream that he could be the Red Sox manager because he would have been heartbroken if things didn’t work out for him. Yes, he actually used that word, to my surprise. As great as he was on ESPN, Bobby V obviously wanted to get back in the dugout where he belongs. But he didn’t just leave for any job. He desperately wanted Boston and was willing to take whatever abuse came his way to get that job. He didn’t object to only having a two-year contract, didn’t take issue with the fact that he wasn’t even on the general manager’s wish list. Bobby V just did what he does best, proved to the Boston hierarchy that he is a brilliant baseball man completely unafraid of the challenge that awaits him.
Of course, Bobby V also admitted that he has a lot of work to do, starting with just getting to know his new players. He casually and delightfully deflected a question about whether his ESPN analyst job will get him off to a bad start with his players by mocking his own criticisms of Josh Beckett and Carl Crawford. But he knows that he wasn’t hired to be the great communicator, but to be a great disciplinarian and to keep a talented Red Sox team from imploding again. It’s clear he relishes the opportunity, but I personally can’t wait to see the uproar that happens the first time Bobby V lets a player (or front-office official) know that it’s his way or the highway.
I also can’t wait to see what Bobby V says and does the first time his Boston team (and yes it will be his team, despite what Bobby V said yesterday) plays the New York Yankees. He wisely did not take any shots at the Yankees, but stated that his Red Sox would be able to match the Bronx Bombers. Can you imagine the hero status that will be awarded to Bobby V if his Red Sox reclaim the division from the Yankees? Of course, beating the Yankees doesn’t guarantee a lifetime pass. Just ask Terry Francona, who was cast aside despite overseeing a historic comeback against the Yankees in the 2004 American League Championship Series on his way to winning Boston's first World Series championship in 86 years.
Bobby V in Beantown sure is going to be a lot of fun to watch. I pledge to read the Boston newspapers every day if possible, just to keep up with the circus.
Thanks to the US federal government for the Bobby V photo.