Most Obnoxious Personality of the Year: Bobby Valentine
No one single person took up more server space, bandwidth, newshole, airtime or Twitter characters in Boston sports this year than Bobby Valentine, even though he's been out of town for two months.
Valentine's hiring was trumpeted as the cure for all that ailed the Red Sox heading into the 2012 season. Coming on the heels of Terry Francona's exile and his somber, player-friendly personality, Valentine was going to shake up the clubhouse and bring his decades of baseball expertise to guide the Red Sox back to glory—or at least third place. And don't forget, Valentine's knowledge of the Japanese culture and his ability to speak the language was all that Dice-K needed to snap out of his funk and successfully recover from Tommy John surgery.
By the end of the season, the Red Sox had run out of scapegoats and Valentine's departure after just one season was as much a relief for him as a necessity for the rest of us and the team
The Valentine Year's Massacre featured the Youkilis flap (followed by the Youkilis trade), the Will Middlebrooks flap, the "he didn't know if the pitcher (Liam Hendricks of the Twins on April 25) was a righty or lefty" flap, the Jon Lester flap, the multiple Alfredo Aceves flaps, the "Ballplayer: Pelotero" flap, the Jose Iglesias/Daniel Nava mid-at-bat flap, and even the Scott Podsednik lineup flap.
This all happened as the team withered on the field. Valentine had the unique ability to catastrophically mismanage his players simultaneously on and off the field. Unlike so many bad Red Sox managers of the past, Valentine's ego needed the fuel of 10,000 suns, so he thrust himself into the story time and time again.
That cratered with Valentine's weekly appearance on WEEI's Big Show on Sept. 5, when he was asked if he had "checked out" and responded by threatening to punch host Glenn Ordway in the mouth. They eventually made up.
But the damage had been done—across the board.