Bobby Valentine's dream job turned into a 93-loss nightmare during his first season as manager of the Red Sox.
Now it's over.
Most popular baseball stories
After six weeks of questions regarding his future, Valentine got the answer everyone was expecting Thursday when the Red Sox fired him.
General manager Ben Cherington promised a swift resolution to the Valentine situation, and the team made the announcement less than 24 hours after the season's final out at Yankee Stadium.
"No single issue is the reason, and no single individual is to blame," Cherington said in a statement. "We've been making personnel changes since August, and will continue to do so as we build a contending club.
"With a historic number of injuries, Bobby was dealt a difficult hand. He did the best he could under seriously adverse circumstances, and I am thankful to him."
Later, Cherington told The Associated Press, "We felt that in order to have a fresh start, we need to start anew in the manager's office."
As manager, Valentine was an obvious scapegoat. But as Cherington pointed out, the Red Sox had plenty of other issues. That included a roster always in flux -- they used 56 players this season, the most in team history. They also chose to begin their rebuilding process in late August by shipping Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford and Josh Beckett, along with $260 million in salary, to the Dodgers.
Jettisoning Gonzalez and Beckett, who reportedly were two of Valentine's more prominent antagonists, at first seemed to be a vote of confidence for the manager. But the Red Sox went 9-27 after the megadeal, sealing Valentine's fate.
"This season was by far the worst we have experienced in over ten years here," Red Sox chairman Tom Werner said. "Ultimately, we are all collectively responsible for the team's performance. We are going to be working tirelessly to reconstruct the ballclub for 2013. We'll be back."
From the moment Valentine was given a two-year deal last November, his pairing with the Red Sox, who were trying to stabilize after a September collapse, figured to be combustible, win or lose. And Boston did lose, big, suffering its first 90-loss season since 1966.
"This year's won-loss record reflects a season of agony," team president/CEO Larry Lucchino said. "It begs for changes, some of which have already transpired. More will come. We are determined to fix that which is broken and return the Red Sox to the level of success we have experienced over the past decade.''
Valentine, 62, was handed an underachieving team with a $175-million payroll. He also inherited a troubled clubhouse, which embarrassed the organization in 2011 when it was revealed some players ate fried chicken and drank beer during games.
Unable to put out those fires, Valentine fueled them instead. His April criticism of Kevin Youkilis, a key figure from the 2007 world champions with declining skills, set the tone for a season of mistrust and unflattering stories about the manager. Before Wednesday's finale, Valentine told a Boston radio station he was undermined by his own coaching staff.
"I understand this decision," Valentine said. "This year in Boston has been an incredible experience for me, but I am as disappointed in the results as are ownership and the great fans of Red Sox Nation.
"It was a privilege to be part of the 100-year anniversary of Fenway Park and an honor to be in uniform with such great players and coaches. My best to the organization. I'm sure next year will be a turnaround year."