Boston Red Sox players blasted manager Bobby Valentine to owners John Henry and Larry Lucchino during a heated meeting called after a text message was sent by a group of frustrated players to the team and ownership in late July, three sources familiar with the meeting told Yahoo! Sports.
The owners called the meeting for Boston's off-day in New York on July 27 after first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, texting on behalf of himself and some teammates, aired their dissatisfaction with Valentine for embarrassing starting pitcher Jon Lester by leaving him in to allow 11 runs during a July 22 start. It was the latest incident in a season's worth of bad relations bubbling between Red Sox players and Valentine.
Gonzalez and Dustin Pedroia were among the most vocal in the meeting, in which some players stated flatly they no longer wanted to play for Valentine, the sources said. The tenor of the 2 p.m. meeting at The Palace hotel in New York turned ugly almost immediately, according to the sources, whom Yahoo! Sports granted anonymity because they were not authorized to speak about internal matters.
From the beginning of the Red Sox's courtship of Valentine this offseason to the double-barreled votes of confidence last week, the match of the hard-nosed Bobby V with the laissez-faire Boston clubhouse seemed tenuous at best. It has proven far worse, personified best perhaps by a picture circulating around via text message, according to a fourth source.
Pedroia, notorious among teammates for his wit and humor, is in the foreground with a giddy smile, his tongue wagging and both thumbs up. Next to him is allegedly Valentine, face down on a table, apparently asleep. A caption accompanies the picture: "Our manager contemplating his lineup at 3:30 p.m."
Certainly the concoction of losing and an unfamiliar style has hurt Valentine's standing with players. Ownership remains in Valentine's corner, with Henry saying in his statement eight days ago: "We have been nothing but supportive of him inside and outside the clubhouse."
The support, according to the sources, baffles those against Valentine, who wonder why the meeting was called if it wasn't going to change anything. During the meeting, the players told Henry and Lucchino that part of the disconnect comes from Valentine spending excessive time in his office.