VALENTINE HASN'T BEEN AS CONTROVERSIAL AS SOME MIGHT BELIEVE
Every time the manager says anything about any player following a game, it has been dissected and analyzed by those waiting for the Bobby V clubhouse tornado. Too many times, however, there simply hasn't been as much to the comments as many are leading you to believe.
Saying Mark Melancon's outing was highlighted by him backing up the bases. The next day, the reliever clarified that he had planted that joke in Valentine's head, so when the manager was asked about the performance it was on the tip of his tongue. The criticism regarding Valentine's execution should be centered around his inability to identify that it was the reliever's joke, not his.
Calling out Iglesias for missing a sign. As much as the manager has praised his young shortstop, it was baffling that people used this as an example of Valentine being too harsh. This was simply an example of how his mind works after games. He is like a golfer going through his round, verbalizing the instant recall he had regarding the actions of the day.
Wanting Bard to throw more changeups. There was nothing wrong with Valentine explaining that he hoped his pitcher threw more changeups, but where the problem came was him not communicating that with Bard prior to explaining that to the media. The next day, the hurler had a perfectly logical explanation for his approach, one that Valentine could have been able to articulate while offering his analysis if a quick dugout conversation was had.
Besides the inevitable uneasiness that comes with change, the only legitimate concern that has emanated from Valentine's style is the potential need for players to constantly answer questions about the manager's off-the-cuff analysis. It might be tolerable now, but over the course of a season it is a responsibility most players don't want added to their days. It was one of the traits of Terry Francona's managing style that his players enjoyed immensely.
The true judgment in how Valentine's managing style will manifest itself in the clubhouse won't come until the first regular-season streak, not after a 10th-inning walk-off loss in Dunedin.