BOSTON (CBS) — After ESPN’s Buster Olney reported that the Red Sox’ clubhouse is toxic, Josh Beckett immediately denied the claim, saying he and his teammates are a remarkably close-knit group.
As it turns out, it appears as though Beckett was being 100 percent truthful, but that tight-knit group of players could be exactly what’s causing the “toxic” environment.
CSNNE’s Sean McAdam did some digging into the reported issues and reported that many of the team’s problems can be traced back to “detached manager” Bobby Valentine and an ownership group that is not aware of day-to-day operations nearly as much as it used to be.
McAdam reports the club is “somewhat dysfunctional at nearly every level,” with many players unhappy with Valentine’s managerial style. One player “openly challenged” Valentine at one point, according to the report. He also noted that Valentine was told to apologize to Kevin Youkilis after the manager called out the veteran infielder early in the season for a lack of effort and focus on the game.
General manager Ben Cherington is depicted as being stuck in the middle, who must listen to player complaints while maintaining public confidence in Valentine, a man who was not Cherington’s choice for the job.
The problem with the manager goes even deeper, according to Peter Gammons, who said Wednesday on Felger & Mazz that there is a divide within the coaching staff itself.
“There is some divide there with the coaches. It’s a matter of respect,” Gammons said.
Then, there is the ownership trio of John Henry, Tom Werner and Larry Lucchino. Henry and Werner have been heavily involved with Liverpool FC since Fenway Sports Group acquired the team in the fall of 2010, and it’s reportedly gotten to the point where players are noticing that the owners are too “preoccupied” to know everything that’s going on at Fenway Park.
“It used to be that the owners knew everything that was going on around here,” an unnamed player told McAdam. “Now they have to hear about it from others.”
While the issues appear to be real, it might be safe to guess that based on the number of leaks and anonymous sources that keep piling up, those issues will have to get worse before they get better.