It cannot be a coincidence that, on the same day the Boston Red Sox introduced their new manager, former manager Bobby Valentine granted his first in-depth interview since his firing. Valentine cannot stand the idea of not having the last word. True to his nature, and his disastrous year at the helm of the Red Sox, Bobby V blamed everyone but himself.
Valentine was interviewed by Bob Costas for a program that aired the same day the Red Sox held a press conference to introduce John Farrell as the team's new manager. The biggest headline to come out of the program was Valentine's claim that designated hitter David Ortiz quit on the team in August.
"David Ortiz came back after spending about six weeks on the disabled list and we thought it was only going to be a week,'' Valentine told Costas. ''He got two hits the first two times up, drove in a couple runs; we were off to the races. Then he realized that this trade meant that we're not going to run this race and we're not even going to finish the race properly and he decided not to play anymore. I think at that time it was all downhill from there.''
Characteristically for Bobby V, the effort to throw Big Papi under the bus comes on the same day that reports surfaced that the Red Sox were closing in on a two-year contract deal with their long-time star.
But Valentine's self-serving and vindictive tirade didn't end with Ortiz. He also bizarrely referred to a summer controversy over his treatment of rookie third baseman Will Middlebrooks. Red Sox fans like me got caught up in controversy regarding Valentine's comments to Middlebrooks after an inning in which he made a couple of errors. Other players reportedly took offense when Bobby V greeted his third baseman at the dugout steps by saying, "Nice inning."
"Just because this is the fact-checking era,'' Valentine said to Costas about the incident, "I don't think it ever happened.''
The only reason the story came out was because Valentine himself told it in his weekly radio show. He used the story to blast his other players for getting upset at the comment, implying that they were whiners constantly taking offense at Valentine's old school baseball approach. Now he says it never happened? It was his story from the start.
"Somebody overheard it and decided that it was a very dreadful thing for a manager to say to a young player, and decided to repeat it a few times, this dreadful thing," Valentine said at the time. "Was I bothered? No, it was expected. Some guys don't get it. It was also ridiculous for someone to repeat it I think and that was the point I was trying to make."
He may no longer be the Red Sox manager, but Bobby Valentine hasn't changed a bit. He will say anything, to anyone, if it serves to build his own ego or justify his own actions. Thank goodness he is gone at the Red Sox can turn the page.
Rick Blaine, an award-winning broadcaster and columnist, is a lifelong Red Sox fan. Follow him on Twitter @RickBlaineCT.
- Sports & Recreation
- Bobby Valentine
- David Ortiz
- Red Sox
- Bob Costas