Greg Bidgood never recovered from the infamous fried-chicken-and-beer-stained collapse of last season’s Red Sox team.
So even as this year’s squad trudged through its worst season in 47 years, culminating with the swift sacking of manager Bobby Valentine Thursday, Bidgood said his summer was not ruined.
“They never even got going this year, so there’s really nothing to root for,” the lifelong fan said. “I kind of just ignored them all summer.”
Bidgood, 24, like several other dejected Sox fans making their way down Yawkey Way moments after Valentine’s firing, was not surprised that the ax came down on the skipper, given the team’s abysmal 69-93 record.
“I don’t think this year was all Bobby V’s fault, but when you win 69 games with the payroll that the Red Sox have, someone’s got to go,” said Bidgood, a Boston resident who would like to see Red Sox brass go beyond management and make roster changes for next season.
The Rev. Bill Lohan of Wrentham, who calls himself a casual Red Sox fan, said Valentine should have been allowed to serve the last year of his two-year contract.
“A year is a short period of time to give anyone a shot,” said Lohan, 43. “It’s not a team that he built, and they should have taken that into consideration. Sometimes, we can be very harsh in the way we assess blame. Bobby Valentine had been away from baseball for a few years, and this is a tough market.”
Valentine’s fate was sealed early in the season, as he appeared to have gotten off on the wrong foot with some team leaders, including second baseman Dustin Pedroia, said Pascal Agblemiawo of Dedham. He blamed some of the players’ strong personalities for stunting Valentine’s approach.
“I suspect strongly there is a conflict within the players,’’ saidAgblemiawo, 48. “There’s a problem with the players that they need to rectify. We couldn’t live up to expectations, and it’s heartbreaking. Ownership has to talk to the players and have a heart-to-heart like a son and a father would.”
Valentine’s persona, some argued, was perhaps too abrasive for a team accustomed to the milder inclinations of his predecessor, Terry Francona, whom observers considered a players’ manager.
“He was the wrong guy from the start; he is too big of a personality,” said Matt Barcello, 29, of Milton, who is a New York Yankees fan. “He puts himself and his ego before the team. I think they would have done better with a clean house.’’
Humphrey Kibara of North Andover said he agrees with the termination, even if the fault should not reside entirely with Valentine.
“They had a pretty bad season,” Kibara, 35, said. “And he seemed to not be in control of the team.”
For others, like Steve Spellman, 23, Valentine has been persona non grata since publicly criticizing the commitment of former third baseman Kevin Youkilis in April.
“Bobby just couldn’t get it done,” Spellman said. “Granted, we had injuries all year, and trading Youk away just really broke my heart. But outside of that, though, it’s going to be really good just to move on forward.”
Peter McAvoy, 51, of Lexington said he is glad to see a season end during which drama trumped baseball in the headlines.
“We haven’t seen such an unraveling of a team around here,” McAvoy said. “You need chemistry for players and coaches to click, and that doesn’t always happen. It certainly didn’t happen this year.”
Patty Brown, 51, of Randolph said she would have liked to see Valentine get another shot but hopes the team can put the soap opera antics behind them.
“I’d like another championship,” Brown said. “They just need to buckle down and do what they need to do. I know they can do it.”
Valentine was the Red Sox equivalent of bad karma, pay back for the poorly handled termination of Francona last year, said Paul Clark, of Concord.
But Clark, 46, has been around long enough to know this familiar refrain of Sox fans everywhere: There’s always next year.
“There is always hope — are you kidding me?’’ Clark said. “Were you around for 1986? This is nothing. Finishing in last place is nothing. They’ll be better.”