FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Bobby Valentine is starting his first spring with the Red Sox and wasn't at all responsible for the team's putrid September -- on and off the field.
But even Valentine recognizes that a team can't run from its past.
"Whether or not a team wins a championship or comes in last,'' he said, "there's always concern about how the attitude will develop in a new year, considering there were some major issues last year at the end and major changes this year at the beginning.
"I'm concerned about (how) the attitude (is going to be). But attitude filters down and when you see Josh Beckett and Jon Lester here, they're the top of the pyramid as far as the pitchers are concerned. And they came early and they've been showing fantastic attitudes. So far, the attitude with the pitching staff seems to be filtering down.''
Valentine will address the full squad of players later in the week and was asked whether he intends to broach the subject of the disappointing finish and the subsequent reports of clubhouse misbehavior.
"I definitely believe that actions speak louder than words,'' said Valentine. "The actions that I've watched the last five or six days are speaking volumes. I think that our fans will want to see more than they want to hear. But I think they need to hear something also.
"I don't know if I'm going to address it. I hear the first day, state-of-the-union is a multi-(person event), that there's a lot of talk going on that day (with the general managers and owners also speaking). I'm not sure, if I'm last up, that I'm going to have to say something. The last thing I want to do is be redundant. But I want to be emphatic
and I think everyone wants to be emphatic. And if it needs to be said again, I will.''
As Valentine pointed out, many of the 63 players in camp were unaffiliated with the mess last fall. Many were in the minor leagues while still others (Andrew Bailey, Nick Punto, Ryan Sweeney, Mark Melancon) were with other organizations.
"I'd hate to paint all of them with the same brush,'' Valentine said. "Many of them have no reason to feel that they need to erase anything of their past. As fas a fresh start is concerned, absolutely. This is 2012. This is the year that could be the most special year of
their life. That is definitely a message that I want them to understand, regardless of what happened last year -- whether they were in Korea, Boston or the National League West.''