The central dynamic in the Bobby Valentine/Red Sox thing is that ownership wants him and is going to get him and GM Ben Cherington has to get cool with that. To that end, Valentine interviewed with Cherington yesterday. The New York Times has a story about it. My favorite part:
Cherington was said in some news media reports to initially have favored Dale Sveum … But according to one of several people in baseball canvassed by Cherington for a report on Valentine, he is actually intrigued by Valentine and not opposed to hiring him.
I don’t know. Maybe it’s the “actually” that gets me there. I know the reporter put that in there, but it seems meaningful. Like, there’s some off the record stuff which would suggest that Cherington hates this but — no, really — he actually, if you can possibly believe it, likes Valentine. Or is at least intrigued which comes before liking. Maybe he could like him. Possibly.
Yes, that’s a total over-read. And for all of the focus on this now, Bobby Valentine is a good manager and there’s every chance he’ll be good for the Red Sox. And even if he’s not the best fit for this job, let’s be honest here and remember that a manger’s impact is often wildly overstated. Short of handing the job to Maury Wills or something, the world will not end no matter who the Red Sox hire.
But I still can’t shake the idea that the front office imposing Valentine on Cherington like this is bad news. Maybe this happened way more with Theo Epstein’s major decisions than we realize, but it just seems unhealthy for Cherington’s first real decision as general manager to be taken away from him like this.
David Ortiz had a whale of a final season with the Red Sox. It was so good that he was asked, many, many times, if he was thinking of reversing his retirement decision and coming back for 2017. Ortiz always said no, he was still retiring, occasionally making mention of his aching feet and the physical grind his 40-year-old body was undergoing.
We now know just how much of a grind it was. Indeed, it was extreme. We know this because Dan Dyrek, the Red Sox’ coordinator of sports medicine services, tells it to Rob Bradford of WEEI. Dyrek says that the injuries to Ortiz’s feet, which were often referred to as achilles tendon problems, were way, way more complicated than that, affecting every muscle, bone and tendon in his feet in chain reaction fashion. Dyrek:
“He was essentially playing on stumps. Instead of having this nice, flexible, foot, ankle, calf mechanism to act as a shock absorber, he was playing on stumps. And you can do that for only so long. He was in warrior mode trying to play through this. Once we diagnosed him and saw what was going on and started explaining things to him, there was actually a sense of relief because now he had an explanation of what he was in such excruciating pain.”
That Ortiz was able to even walk through what Dyrek describes is pretty amazing. That he was able to put up a near-MVP season with all of that pain is incredible.
For all of the ups and downs of his personal and professional life, Charlie Sheen is and always has been a passionate baseball fan. Sheen once bought out an entire section of bleachers for an Angels game so he could catch a home run ball (he didn’t catch a home run ball). He starred in “Eight Men Out” and, more notably, “Major League.” That latter film earned him the love and admiration of Indians fans which lasts to this day.
Indeed, the love continues to be so great that, right after the Indians clinched the American League pennant, they began lobbying for Sheen to throw out the first pitch of a World Series game in Cleveland. Yesterday afternoon Sheen took to Twitter, posted a pic of his baseball alter ego, and said that, if called upon, he would serve:
While it’s a big broad comedy, the scene in “Major League” in which Sheen comes out of the bullpen to “Wild Thing” blaring and the fans going nuts is legitimately chill-inducing. The fans at Progressive Field are already going to be amped up for the World Series as it is, but imagine how nuts the place would be if they recreated that scene.
Do it, Indians!
UPDATE: Wait, on reflection, don’t do it, Indians. Sheen is sort of a Trumpian figure in that his high profile craziness often causes us to momentarily forget his legitimate badness. We don’t need a guy like that tossing out the first pitch at the World Series.