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Cohen's Corner: Red Sox roll dice on the Zen of Bobby V

It was only a matter of time before Bobby Valentine returned to a major league dugout.

One of the game's most coveted managerial candidates over the past number of years since his firing from the New York Mets in 2002, Valentine brings his disciplinarian approach to Bean town.

Met fans always wanted to see Valentine return to the Mets; some even felt he was the scapegoat in a bitter "he-said, he-said" with then general manager Steve Phillips. Valentine resurrected his career in Japan, winning a Japanese World Series and, basically, re-inventing how the game was played in the Land of the Rising Sun to point that he earned cult status, and his own documentary the Zen of Bobby V.

No manager knows how to get more out of his players than Valentine. In New York, Valentine took scraps like Benny Agbayanni, Matt Franco, Todd Pratt, Jay Payton, and Rick Reed and turned them into key contributors to a team that had veteran All-Star talent in Mike Piazza, Robin Ventura, Edgardo Alfonzo, Al Leiter, and Todd Ziele. They were a great team, the last really fun team the Mets have had until the club's outstanding, albeit heartbreaking, 2006 season.

Now, heading to Boston, there is a new challenge. He has to deal with a club house that couldn't function for the more down-to-earth Terry Francona, a guy who won two World Series titles in Boston. Valentine, who, while having the reputation of getting the most out of players, can also be quite cantankerous, and was even villified by some players in the Mets club house.

Moreover, Valentine is a guy who loves to have total control of a franchise. That's why he was so successful in Japan; he was the GM and manager. In New York, Valentine got into many fueds with Steve Phillips over player personnel matters and went out of his way to say, years later, that he didn't want Mo Vaughn or Roberto Alomar; Phillips, he asserted, was the one who wanted them.

He goes to Boston where they have just hired a young GM, Ben Cherington, who is trying to establish himself. This will be an interesting relationship to watch develop. Will Cherington allow Valentine to have any say in player personnel, or will these two eventually butt heads? In addition, it is widely believed that Valentine was not Cherington's top choice; he wanted Dave Sveum, a guy who has no prior major league managing experience, one who would probably listen to Cherington's demands.

Then there is the club house. Can Valentine co-exist with guys like Josh Beckett, David Ortiz, and Kevin Youklis? Some of these guys, most notably Beckett, were rumored to be involved in a beer and fried chicken incident during September. Don't expect Valentine to tolerate that, but keep in mind, he did have to deal with Bobby Bolnilla and Ricky Henderson playing cards in the Mets clubhouse during the 1999 NLCS.

So this will be an interesting situation. It will be all lovey dovey on Thursday when Valentine is introduced as manager, but Boston is not the two horse pony that New York is. Valentine is the only manager of the only team in the region, and he has to compete with the Yankees in the division this time around, not for back page headlines. If Valentine succeeds in Boston, his legend will only grow. If not, well ... don't say I didn't warn you.

Check out the blog, Cohen's Corner!

Be sure to listen to my show Open Mike, Live on Friday from 2-4 pm, right here on MTR Call us at (609) 910-0687!


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