Sunday September 23, 2012

PITTSFIELD

By now, we all know how much water the Good Ship Red Sox has been taking on since the middle of the summer. It is sinking fast, and Captain Bobby Valentine can do nothing to stop it.

If Valentine is back managing the Red Sox next year, color me surprised. No, color me extremely surprised.

With the baseball schedule dwindling down to a few days, the talking heads in Boston have been putting out names of some of the usual suspects. One day, you hear it should be Toronto manager John Farrell. The next day, it's Mike Scioscia or Tony LaRussa or even Jim Leyland, if Detroit suffers a crash and Leyland is fired.

There has also been talk of Jason Varitek. After all, if Robin Ventura and Mike Matheny can step in without managing experience, why can't Tek?

The Red Sox should go off the board a little bit with their managerial pick. They should look at Brian Daubach.

Daubach has managerial experience, albeit in the minors and independent ball. He is a veteran big league player who wore a Red Sox jersey and understands what you members of Red Sox Nation are like.

Daubach is not affiliated with the Terry Francona-John Farrell-Jason Varitek era Red Sox, and it would be best if Cherington, Larry Lucchino and John Henry stay away from that era.

A clean break from the recent past will be good for the Red Sox.

Here in Berkshire County, we saw how good of a manager Daubach can be. The 2010 Pittsfield Colonials were the worst team in the Can-Am League as it headed into the second half of the season. Daubach rallied his players to the point that the Colonials had the best second-half record and made it to the league championship series.

From there, he has spent the past two years managing in the Washington Nationals' system. Two years ago, Daubach was thrust into the middle of a baseball circus when uber-prospect Bryce Harper was assigned to Daubach's Hagerstown team. By all accounts, Daubach and the Hagerstown Suns kept the circus inside the tent and never allowed it to impact Harper's development. It's fair to say that without Daubach's steady hand in 2011, Harper might not have advanced as quickly as he did.

A former NESN and WEEI radio analyst, Daubach could handle the media and he has a reservoir of good will from his playing days. That was something Valentine never had.

It would not be fair to pin all of this 2012 disaster (if you're a Sox fan) on Valentine. In the days before the trade that blew up this year's team, had pitchers Josh Beckett and Jon Lester just been .500 pitchers -- the real definition of mediocre -- Boston would have been in the wild card race. General manager Ben Cherington might not have blown the team up, and we might be talking about a wild card battle between the Sox, Orioles, A's and the rest.

Cherington must do, in my opinion, the right thing shortly after the season ends in October, and that is to give Valentine next year's check and say thanks for your efforts.

The first phone call after that should be to Daubach. Then, let the fun begin.

To reach Howard Herman:
hherman@berkshireeagle.com,
(413) 496-6253.
On Twitter: @howardherman.