Francona, Valentine swap roles, again

What makes a coach a “player’s coach”?

Is it letting the players run free and not hold them accountable?

Is it being strict when you need to be, and be easy-going the rest of the time?

For the Boston Red Sox, former manager Bobby Valentine was a polar opposite to prior manager Terry Francona.

While Francona ran the Red Sox, the clubhouse consisted of players drinking beer, smoking cigars and goofing around in the clubhouse.

Francona also led the Red Sox past the dreaded “Curse of the Bambino” and to two championships –– in 2004 and 2007 –– during those shenanigans.

When Valentine stepped in — basically switching roles with Francona between ESPN analyst to manager — that all stopped. The clubhouse turned into a strict, no-beer clubhouse. Valentine instead began calling out veterans on their performance and dedication.

Before anyone knew it, third baseman Kevin Youkilis was ran out of Boston and players were butting heads with Valentine.

Valentine had a one-and-done season in Boston, and now Francona is back to managing in Cleveland.

Could Francona and Valentine switch roles consecutive years?

It may be Valentine’s only option if he doesn’t find another managerial position.

Call ESPN Bobby, fast.

 

Reach the columnist at msterrel@asu.edu