The rumors have been flying for days -- weeks, really, or even months -- but the Boston Red Sox made it official Thursday morning, less than 24 hours after the team lost its final game of the 2012 season:
BREAKING: Bobby Valentine will not return as #RedSox Manager in 2013. EVP/GM Ben Cherington to lead managerial search.— Boston Red Sox (@RedSox) October 4, 2012
Valentine stirred controversy from before spring training, attempting to bait the Red Sox' arch-rival Yankees; there were reports of dissension in the clubhouse, and Valentine never could find the right combination of players for a winning team on the field. The Red Sox finished with 93 defeats, the first 90+ loss season for the team since 1966, and they finished in last place for the first time since 1932.
There are no listed candidates for the job as of now, although former Boston manager Terry Francona is reported to be interviewing this week for the vacant Cleveland Indians managing position. You don't suppose Ben Cherington would hire Francona back, do you?
Stranger things have happened in baseball. But not much.