With Josh Beckett, Adrian Gonzalez and Co. long since banished to Los Angeles, Bobby Valentine has been left behind in Boston to serve as the season's lone scapegoat.
Predictably, Valentine is not handling it very well. The embattled Boston Red Sox manager hit what looked to be his boiling point on Wednesday afternoon, telling WEEI's Glenn Ordway that he'd "punch" him "right in the mouth" for asking the question that's being asked by many Red Sox fans these days: Has Valentine "checked out" of the season?
Here's Valentine's response to Ordway's question (listen to the whole thing here):
"What an embarrassing thing to say. If I were there right now, I'd punch you right in the mouth. Ha, ha. How's that sound? Is that like I checked out? What an embarrassing thing," said Valentine. "Why would somebody even, that's stuff that a comic strip person would write. If someone's here, watching me go out at 2 o'clock in the afternoon, watching me put in the right relief pitchers to get a win, putting on a hit-and-run when it was necessary, talking to the guys after the game in the food room — how could someone in real life say that?"
Valentine delivered that response in a highly annoyed sing-song type of voice before Ordway gave his justification for asking the question. Valentine's commitment to the lost season has been a popular topic in Boston after he was reportedly late to the ballpark for a game last week and answered at least one postgame question with a response of "who cares?"
Valentine took issue with Ordway's explanation and his voice grew considerably angrier as he reached for an explanation for his tardiness to the ballpark:
"I shouldn't have to explain that. That pisses me off. Whoever wrote that knew what happened. They knew that my son was coming to see me for the first time in this lousy season and that I got to see him on the road, and that his flight was late, and that I was waiting at the airport in San Francisco for his flight to come in, and that I sent the lineup in and reported to my coaches that I was going to be a little late," said Valentine. "For someone to say that I was late is an absolute disgrace to their integrity if they have any."
It's easy to see why Valentine would be a little bit testy. No one likes having their commitment or effort questioned, especially not for the listening pleasure of an afternoon drive time audience. At the same time, Ordway was just acting as the public's surrogate and the fact that he's not an everyday beat writer with the team actually gives him the freedom to ask it. Valentine has to know that and he also has to know how to sidestep land mine questions like those. They're a part of managing a baseball team, especially in Boston.
Valentine said he'd be open to returning for a second season with Boston if the front office will have him. But given the way he's handling the pressure down the stretch here, it's hard to believe that'd be a beneficial arrangement for either side. If Valentine hadn't already sealed his fate with this mess of a season, he probably did so with this interview.
After all, would you want the man who said this managing your baseball team next season?
"This is what I chose to do. I think it's been miserable, but it's also been part of my life's journey," said Valentine. "You learn from misery."
Didn't think so.