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Entries from Empyreal Environs tagged with “Valentine (Bobby)”

Upbeat Uehara

Koji Uehara’s family name means above the plain; 上 is “above” and 原 is plain, field, or prarie. Kōji (it’s a long “o” sound) is broken down as 浩, meaning broadminded, magnanimous, great, and prosperous and 治 seems to mean treatment. It should mean “effusive dugout presence” because this guy doesn’t hold back when he celebrates a successful outing with his teammates. His exuberance contrasts with the low-key demeanor of fellow countryman Hideki Okajima or even US-born relievers. Maybe he's the relief pitcher version of Dustin Pedroia. John Farrell was booed at every opportunity. At one point he had something thrown at him, a surprising incident in ever-polite Canada. And who knew Geddy Lee could throw so far? Farrell needed a pair of these, and so does everyone who wants to stop hearing about Bobby Valentine, who just won’t stop talking about the raw deal he thought he got in Boston. These kids below aren’t illustrating the actual size of Valentine’s ego. As far as Red Sox promotions go, the shirt on the kid on the left says it all. It definitely wasn’t a Bonifiasco. Game 4: April 5, 2013 Boston Red Sox3-1 6 H: Koji Uehara (2), Andrew Bailey...


I had this game open on a tab in browser since last October. MLB’s annoying autoplay feature made it so whenever the page loaded I would hear Michael Kay throwing it to Meredith Marakovits for the Yankees’ celebration. Even that wasn’t enough to make me put fingers to keyboard to attempt to summarize this game, a microcosm of the disappointment of this season. Thankfully the Yankees were ineffective in the postseason, outlasting the Baltimore Orioles 3-2 in the ALDS before getting swept by the Tigers in the ALCS. This was Bobby Valentine’s last game as Red Sox skipper. At one point I thought that Valentine’s experience in Japan and ability to speak the language would help Daisuke Matsuzaka attain his former levels of success. Now neither have jobs in the majors, although Matsuzaka may find his way to the big leagues and be reunited with his former manager, Terry Francona. The Indians, along with the rest of the world, made a “Harlem Shake” video. This offseason the Red Sox did their best to shake off 2012’s woes with extensive shifts off and on the field. It will take more than a meme to bring meaning back to this team. Game...

Saltalamacchia Cycle

According to The Book the run value of walk is .32 and a single is .47, so Jarrod Saltalmacchia was .15 short of a cycle. Call it a Saltalamacchia Cycle. Bobby Valentine showed his tender, tough, and ticked off sides last night. In the top of the seventh he pulled Dustin Pedroia out of the game because his wife went into labor. (Three-year old Dylan Pedroia now has a younger brother.) Speaking of babies, Alfredo Aceves acted like one when when Valentine took him off the mound in the seventh. Even though his manager stayed with him after Curtis Granderson clubbed the back-breaking two-out homer Aceves pointedly had no interaction with Valentine. After Nick Swisher doubled off the left field wall he handed the ball to Saltalamacchia and took a circuitous route around his teammates to avoid Valentine. “If I have to explain Aceves’ actions,” quipped the manager, “I’ll wind up going across the river and work for Harvard.” Finally, Bobby Valentine was thrown out by home plate umpire Alfonso Marquez in the ninth after he defended a fired-up Cody Ross, who was irate by a called third strike to end the eighth. At least the Yankees seemed to have...

Bottoms Up

In a recent “Only a Game” segment Bill Littlefield bemoaned how even non-sporting events near the Hub have been dominated by angst about the Red Sox. While the pre-2004 fatalism had been mostly banished by the club consistently contending this season has revived the Old Town team’s fans’ old habit of anxiety and dread. I especially liked this anecdote: Moments later I found myself face to face with a man whose novels and stories have been widely celebrated. He has created memorable characters of all sorts. But in the garden on this potentially lyrical day in late summer, his concern was non-fiction. He was savaging a Boston sportswriter whom he regarded as sarcastic, mean-spirited, and wrong, at least as regards the Red Sox, upon whose trials the sportswriter has capitalized in several books. The sportswriter is undoubtedly Dan Shaughnessy but the novelist is less easy to discern. Stephen King, perhaps? Speaking of horror, the Blue Jays completed their second straight sweep of the Red Sox. Bobby Valentine visited Clay Buchholz in the ninth with speedy runners at the corners and one down. Buchholz thought he was being taken out and handed the ball over but Valentine told him he was...

Checked Out

Cody Ross launched the ball into the Red Sox bullpen in the sixth inning. Ross followed Dustin Pedroia and Jacoby Ellsbury across home plate, tying the game 3-3. Ryan Lavarnway helped his battery mate with his first home run of the season, a solo shot with two outs that nearly hit Junichi Tazawa. It had been a long time since this has happened. I guess not everyone has checked out, Glenn Ordway. Not even Bobby Valentine, who was waiting for his son at the airport when the flight was delayed due to fog. Game 137: September 4, 2012 Boston Red Sox63-74 4 W: Jon Lester (9-11)H: Craig Breslow (7), Junichi Tazawa (1), Vicente Padilla (23)S: Andrew Bailey (2) 2B: James Loney (19), Jose Iglesias (1)HR: Cody Ross (20), Ryan Lavarnway (1) Seattle Mariners66-71 3 L: Blake Beavan (9-9)No extra base hits...

The Dead Can Dance

Terry Kiser Bernied his way to the mound to hurl the first pitch. Assuming the roles of Larry Wilson (originated by Andrew McCarthy) and Richard Parker (Jonathan Silverman) were Coco Crisp and Josh Reddick. The way the Athletics have gelled this season to contend for a playoff spot reminds me of Red Sox championship teams of the past. In Boston we had cowboyed up and been idiots.This year’s Red Sox have no theme but a funeral dirge while in Oakland they dance in unison to an 80s movie. Even Don and Jerry jumped on Bernie’s bandwagon. Alfredo Aceves has been Bobby Valentine’s whipping post since his suspension. In the fourth inning Aceves staunchly stood in the middle of Jarrod Saltalamacchia and James Loney when trying to field a foul pop-up off Crisp’s bat. Crisp ended up doubling and once he was there Aceves was obsessed with throwing pickoffs to the keystone sack. Dustin Pedroia discussed the matter with Aceves in the dugout after the inning. Valentine interceded when interaction got heated but in the end left it up to the players. Game 134: September 1, 2012 Boston Red Sox62-72 1 L: Felix Doubront (10-7) No extra base hits Oakland Athletics75-57...

Atrocious Aceves

In the seventh Ryan Lavarnway moved so fast cameras couldn’t clearly capture his superhuman speed. The backstop lunged after Torii Hunter’s popped up bunt attempt and snagged it before it touched the infield dirt. Perhaps blame should not be placed on Alfredo Aceves alone. Bobby Valentine did make the reliever pitch for more than three outs. If Aceves was trying to make a case for himself to be restored as closer he presented stunningly awful evidence. He pitched a perfect eighth but grazed Erick Aybar’s toe with one down in the ninth. Aybar’s presence on the basepaths seemed to rattle Aceves, who threw to first twice before concentrating on the batter. Alberto Callaspo proceeded to walk on four pitches. Mike Trout broke his bat on a line drive single past a sprawling Dustin Pedroia for the tying run. Callaspo sprinted to third on the hit Hunter had his vengeance in the ninth. The right fielder lofted the ball to his former territory. It was deep enough so that Jacoby Ellsbury couldn’t possibly make an outfield assist to stop Callaspo from scoring the winning run. Aceves’s outing was about as messy as this kid. I love this situation. The child’s mother...


The Baltimore Orioles honored the late Johnny Pesky with a moment of silence prior to the series opener. On the right sleeve of the Red Sox players, underneath the logo for Fenway’s 100th anniversary, there is a black band of remembrance for the beloved shortstop. On my commute to work on I-93 North two electronic bulletin boards displayed the number six in the unmistakable style of Red Sox home jersey numbers. Yes, Mr. Red Sox is missed, especially as recent clubhouse controversies resurfaced in the form of an article by Jeff Passan. No reason to rehash the details here, because they aren’t important. The game is important. Pesky would be the first to say, “Play ball!” Prior this game Bobby Valentine took a moment to kiss Dustin Pedroia. It didn’t seem to be a peck of affection but a gesture of accusation. “I know it was you, Pedroia. You broke my heart.” Game 117: August 14, 2012 Boston Red Sox57-60 1 L: Josh Beckett (5-10) 2B: Pedro Ciriaco (6), Cody Ross (23), Dustin Pedroia (24)3B: Pedroia (3) Baltimore Orioles63-53 7 W: Wei-Yin Chen (11-7)HR: Omar Quintanilla (4), Mark Reynolds – 2 (11)...

Mauer Mauling

Despite his questionable decisions Bobby Valentine exclaimed to the Comcast SportsNet camera, “It’s not true, I’m not trying to get fired, folks! It’s not true! It’s all made up by him!” By “him” Valentine meant Dan Shaughnessy. Even a relatively new manager is aware of Shaughnessy’s reputation. Valentine had the smarts and the guts to bring in Alfredo Aceves with the bases loaded and none out in the eighth with the score 2-1. Justin Morneau, the first batter Aceves faced, laced the ball to right for a sacrifice fly to tie the game. But the closer battled back to get two outs without further damage. That Pedro Ciriaco hit his first major league home run to lead off the bottom of the eighth as a pinch hitter was more luck than managerial acumen. Ciriaco didn’t get the silent treatment; in fact, the Fenway crowd called him out of the dugout for a curtain call. The Red Sox tacked on another run with Cody Ross’s grounder to right, which plated Dustin Pedroia. Where Valentine could be faulted is not pulling Aceves when the Twins started smacking the ball around the ninth. Alexi Casilla doubled with one out and scored on Jamey...


I knew if I waited long enough to recap the last game of the first half of the season yet another clubhouse drama would emerge. Gordon Edes came out with a dirty laundry list today, with most of the items . Some of the highlights: [Gary] Tuck keeps his communication with Valentine to a minimum. He is known to walk past the manager without so much as a hello. David Ortiz publicly stated his support recently for the manager, but another respected player on the team said privately that it was all for show. That same player has gone weeks without speaking to Valentine and said that the manager does not have the support of “anyone” in the clubhouse. That is likely an exaggeration -- another veteran told a friend he has come around on the manager after initially being shocked at his hire -- but Valentine told associates that he knows he is being bad-mouthed in the clubhouse and is at a loss to understand why. Valentine went out to the mound in Chicago for a visit with his pitcher, and all the infielders joined him for the conference except star second baseman Dustin Pedroia, who remained at his...

Eye Black

A D.O. rocked the eye black today but it wasn’t Boston’s designated hitter. Play-by-play man Don Orsillo had Jerry Remy apply the glare-reducing makeup before the bottom of the fourth inning. It was just in time for David Ortiz’s go-ahead solo blast. “I saw all of it,” exclaimed Orsillo as the ball ricocheted about the visitors’ bullpen. It’s not the best home run call, but it’s far from the worst. The Red Sox pitchers had issues with home plate umpire Alan Porter. Alfredo Aceves felt he had struck out Roger Bernardina with two out and two on in the ninth and the strike zone plots show a number of pitches in the strike zone that should have been called strikes. Bernardina lined a double to right that scored Bryce Harper for the go-ahead run. Dustin Pedroia was the last Red Sox batter and he disputed Porter’s called strikes. Bobby Valentine backed up his second baseman from the dugout and was thrown out of the game. Valentine got into it with Porter a bit before heading for the clubhouse. No doubt he wanted to get an early start on how to respond to the media’s questions about why his team got...

The Perm Faces the Shredder

Jarrod Saltalamacchia was the first Red Sox pinch hitter to win the game with a walk-off home run since Wes Chamberlain’s solo shot off Orioles reliever Jesse Orosco on May 9, 1995. The triumphant circuit clout represented a number of firsts. It was Saltalamacchia’s first walk-off homer and it was also the first time a player went into “the shredder” and came out with his hair looking better than when he went in. Nick Punto’s nickname is “The Shredder” but obviously not because of his hitting. While he was on the Cardinals he led home plate celebrations but rending his teammates’ garments. The Red Sox hardly needed tips on how to revel in a win but Punto’s presence has seemed to elevate the energetic festivities. I think the pummeling of Saltalamacchia was more violent than Friday’s donnybrook. Saltalamacchia nearly lost his gold chain but it was retrieved by Kevin Youkilis. Looking over the box score from that 19995 game had me comparing this team to Kevin Kennedy’s club. It was his first season as Red Sox manager. With Kennedy at the helm his squad outperformed Pythagorean (80-64 with an actual record of 86-58), won the AL East, and made the...

Baby New York

Unfortunately the Red Sox’s visit didn’t coincide with Cole Hamels’s five-game suspension. Suspensions of five games or less are farcical for starting pitchers, but Bud Selig has rarely been about what is actually good for the game but instead supports that which looks good for the game. Hamels the southpaw wasn’t his usual sharp self: Mike Aviles and Cody Ross both managed circuit clouts in the third and sixth innings respectively. Aviles has six home runs and Ross eight. Both have more homers in 2012 than Adrian Gonzalez, who incremented his home run count to three with a solo four-bagger in the eighth. Perhaps the first baseman needs a friendly cuff on the face like Matt Albers received from Bobby Valentine in the seventh. Jonathan Papelbon toed the rubber to his replacement song “For Whom the Bell Tolls” by Metallica and tallied his 12th save. That the song conjures the parallel that pitchers ring up their quarry seems something too clever for Papelbon to have figured out by himself. I wonder if he realizes that the song was inspired by Ernest Hemingway’s novel of the same title? Or that it is about the brutality of real wars, not the merely...

Angry Aviles

Mike Aviles was ejected for the first time in his major league career in last night’s game. The shortstop argued with home plate umpire Dan Bellino’s strike that ended Aviles’s at bat and the top half of the seventh inning. I found myself agreeing with Aviles: the pitch seemed to be a shade too far outside. According to the strikezone plot at Brooks Baseball, however, Aviles did let a strike go by; it seems he was fooled because the balls he took were very close to the final strike. Nothing like a painstakingly accurate chart to cool one’s righteous indignation. I don’t think I was the only one who got a little misty when Don Orsillo recounted an anecdote featuring former manager Terry Francona. The Tropicana clubhouse is known for a wall of headshots of major league managers that would be updated with frightening efficiency. Francona said he would check if he still had a job by checking out the photos to see if his shiny pate was still present. That prompted Jerry Remy to recall how he told Francona that his meetings were boring. From that point forward Francona had a magazine waiting for Remy. Orsillo and Remy didn’t...

Happy Birthday, Bobby

Bobby Valentine turned 62 yesterday and the team presented him with the fourth series win of the season. Not to be ungrateful, but he really could have done with more of these gifts. The team is in the American League East cellar and trails the Baltimore Orioles by 6½ games. The Onion’s horoscope for Taureans said, “Despite your efforts to be a modern-day hero, you will slowly develop into a postmodern-era Internet meme.” This suits Valentine better than any current manager in the majors. There’s the fake mustache incident, of course. A music video of Deen’s song “Diamond” that heavily features Valentine. And who could pass up the Bobby burger garnished with pineapple? It’s Magic! It’s American! Just like Bobby V himself. Game 34: May 13, 2012 Cleveland Indians18-16 1 L: Justin Masterson (1-3) 2B: Michael Brantley – 2 (12) Boston Red Sox15-19 12 W: Daniel Bard (3-4) 2B: Adrian Gonzalez – 2 (13), Daniel Nava – 2 (4), Dustin Pedroia (13)HR: Will Middlebrooks (4), Jarrod Saltalamacchia (5)...

Hand Jive

Bobby Valentine constructed the lineup for the game thinking that Liam Hendriks was a left-handed pitcher, putting in righties Darnell McDonald and Kelly Shoppach. Jarrod Saltalamacchia caught the error that caused Jerry Remy to have to grumpily correct his scorecard. Just because Hendriks is from Down Under doesn’t mean he’s a southpaw. Perhaps someone should show Bobby a map and explain to him how the Nile doesn’t flow uphill. Clay Buchholz pitched solidly until he got into a jam in the sixth. The stanza started out promisingly enough with a strikeout of Sean Burroughs but then bottom of the order batters Ben Revere (who bunted) and Alexi Casilla (who grounded a single up the middle) got on base. Dernard Span smoked a double to right to plate Revere and Jamey Carroll walked on five pitches to load the bases. Scott Atchison induced a sharp grounder off the bat of Joe Mauer that ricocheted off his leg at just the right angle to elude Mike Aviles. Two runs crossed the plate on the double by deflection and Valentine opted to pull Atchison in favor of Justin Thomas. Thomas did no better as Justin Morneau doubled to center to drive in another...

Oh Danny Boy

In his first season as a major league starter Daniel Bard notched his first win — but it was as a reliever. I suppose this shouldn’t be too shocking in this topsy-turvy season. Bard toed the rubber in the eighth like he used and his team broke its five-game losing streak. The score was 5-5 going into the ninth, which is unusually high-scoring on the Twins’ part. Minnesota is 11th in the American League in runs and 12th in slugging percentage. Ryan Doumit smacked his first double of the season in the fourth to plate two runs and Danny Valencia launched his first homer of the year immediately afterwards to give his team the lead. The Twins added to their lead in the fifth in a fashion more typical of their brand of baseball: leadoff base on balls by Trevor Plouffe, Denard Span single on which Plouffe advanced to third, and a run scored on Jamey Carroll’s 6-4-3 double play. Not only did Carroll ground into a scoring double play but he was part of a dazzling twin killing in the sixth. Plouffe tumbled after David Ortiz’s sharp grounder up the middle and flipped to Carroll. Carroll niftily handled the...


I thought I’d miss Jonathan Papelbon eventually but not this soon. The win probability graph of this game looked like dot-com stock circa 2000-2001. If only Bobby Valentine could log into Kozmo.com and order up a decent bullpen, something that Ben Cherington failed to deliver. Source: FanGraphs Due to the meltdown of the relief corps on Saturday the Red Sox have begun to shuffle the deck chairs on the Titanic. Daniel Bard is going back into the bullpen to resume his role as set-up man temporarily. A deal was struck with the Cubs for the services of Marlon Byrd, who will shore up the injury-ridden outfield. Boston will send Michael Bowden and a player to be named later but the Cubs will pay for much of Byrd’s contract. Game 14: April 21, 2012 New York Yankees9-6 15 W: Rafael Soriano (2-0)2B: Robinson Cano (7), Nick Swisher (6), Mark Teixeira (4), Russell Martin (1)HR: Teixeira – 2 (3), Swisher (4) Boston Red Sox4-10 9 H: Franklin Morales (3)BS, L: Alfredo Aceves (2, 0-1)2B: Ryan Sweeney (7), Adrian Gonzalez (3), David Ortiz (8), Darnell McDonald (2), Jarrod Saltalamacchia – 2 (3)HR: Cody Ross (3)...

Patriots’ Dismay

The 38,108 fans at Fenway knew it. People who took the day off to watch the game knew it. Even those who couldn’t get the day off knew it. The only one who didn’t know it was the only one who mattered. Bobby Valentine kept Daniel Bard on the mound as he walked in what would be the winning run with two down in the seventh. The frame started out promisingly enough. Jeff Keppinger tapped out to Nick Punto and Jose Molina struck out looking. But then Sean Rodriguez walked on six pitches, the last of which was a pitch in the dirt. Allowing Bard to face Desmond Jennings was defensible. The emergent outfielder lined a single into center after working the count 2-2. Carlos Pena, he of the 171 strikeouts a season average over the last dozen years, walked on four pitches. Instead of Valentine emerging from the dugout to pull Bard Bob McClure came out to check in with the newly installed starter. Bard did the same thing to Evan Longoria as he did with Pena, a four-pitch base on balls. Perhaps Valentine was emotionally and physically not into the game due to the recent controversy between he...

Action Jackson

After this team’s calamitous crash in September I found I couldn’t, or didn’t want to, bear witness to the organization’s offseason paroxysms. Like sending a loved one to rehab, I said goodbye and good luck to the Red Sox in October. Better to leave the team’s recovery from complacency and entitlement in the hands of professionals and keep my hand-wringing at a minimum. Here and there I’d hear about this injury or that trade. One season-erasing injury that heartened me was John Lackey’s Tommy John surgery. Unfortunately it didn’t undo his past two seasons nor clear his massive contract from the ledger. When the Blue Jays changed their employment policies to bar John Farrell from joining the Red Sox in the role of field manager, the inevitability of Bobby Valentine’s hiring surged. Unlike Terry Francona, Valentine was not laden with loyalty towards players whose contributions were mostly in highlight reels rather than on the field. Two such players, luminaries of the 2004 and 2007 squads, retired. As hard as it is to see a team without Tim Wakefield and Jason Varitek, it was even more difficult to observe their decline. Baseball has returned, but this year it is not a...


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