Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Fitting the Mold

Entering a new working environment is difficult for any profession. There are many things to adjust to when coming into a new office: the lingo, the people, the procedures, and perhaps the most important, the culture. As an HR manager, I appreciate the importance of new hires fitting the established culture of a company, or in this case an organization. Perhaps this is why the company I work for firmly believes in promoting from within. Rarely do we hire management from outside the company. In good humor, from now on, I will internally dub this mentality the Bobby Valentine Precaution.

Bobby Valentine and the Red Soxs, along with Ozzie Guillen and the Marlins, were two of the biggest coach/team pairings talked about this winter.  While conversation on this topic may be premature at two weeks into the MLB season, it is inarguably relevant.
Switching gears from media analyst to Red Sox leader may be more difficult for Bobby Valentine than he anticipated. I am not going to rehash all the questionable decisions of Valentine thus far, only to point out there are a number of them, to be seen here. But all these poor decisions show that Valentine is having a tough time switching gears from talking ball behind a desk to calling plays in the dugout.
However, I believe all of this slip-ups could be forgiven, if Valentine could make that connection with his players. The connection that would take the Red Soxs from the unrecognizable, hubristic team they were revealed to be at the end of last season, to the inspiring, second chance team they could be this year.
Valentine will never make that connection if he continues to talk to the media as if he is an analyst of baseball, not the leader of these men. Valentine's decision to call out Youkilis is a daunting misstep in his quest to fit the culture of the Red Sox, pinning players such as Dustin Pedroia against him.
Valentine is not the only newbie tripping over his own feet during this young season. Praising Cuban leader Fidel Castro may not seem like a 5 game suspension inducing comment to New Englanders; however, to the population of Miami, FL this is basic tyranny. Ozzie Guillan's comments regarding Cuba's famous dictator sparked an outcry and the calling for Guillan's job by Miami's Cuban community.
Grateful to be back in the Marlin's dugout, Guillan already knows how he can make this up to the community: "Win. If you're winning and I do what I think I should do in this community, it will be better."

Will winning really be a cure for the damage Ozzie has done in the Marlin's community? I believe so. Winning makes people forgive and forget.
Is Bobby Valentine trying to get himself fired? Seems that way. Will he last the season? Who knows. But I say he starts having his players' backs, like Pedroia suggests, and then maybe they will have his. Losing 18-3 ain't good for coaches and it ain't good for players. Something has to change, and it has to change soon.

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