Mayor Thomas Menino Praises Bobby Valentine’s Approach, David Ortiz’s Return

Mayor Thomas Menino Praises Bobby Valentine's Approach, David Ortiz's ReturnMayor Thomas Menino understands his role as a public ambassador. As the mayor of Boston, Menino is constantly under the microscope, from every decision he makes to each public statement he utters.

So he can appreciate Bobby Valentine's transparency this offseason. Since Valentine was hired in December, the new Red Sox manager has worked to integrate himself within Boston's community, attending several public functions.

While speaking with NESN.com on Tuesday, Menino lauded Valentine for raising the excitement level in the city.

"Since December, he's been all over New England, visiting fans and players," Menino said in a phone interview. "He's been out there building a network of fans for the Red Sox after what happened last year at the end of the season. He’s been out there everyday rebuilding the image of the Boston Red Sox."

Despite the organizational overhaul, Menino's affinity for David Ortiz hasn't changed. Last year at a baseball clinic, the mayor famously said the Red Sox should sign the iconic slugger to an eight-year deal.

While Menino — or Ortiz, for that matter — didn't receive that wish, Menino remained satisfied that Ortiz would stay in Boston for at least one more year and would be compensated well after Monday's salary agreement.

"It's one year at a time," Menino said, laughing. "But I think David Ortiz is a great fixture with our team. People look up to him for his leadership, how he deals with young people in our city. He's a great role model for the Latino community and he's a great ballplayer. When he comes up to bat, you always expect the best from him."

With Valentine and Ortiz vying to reignite the Red Sox, Menino is optimistic that the 2012 season will be a memorable one, especially as Fenway Park celebrates its 100th anniversary.

"Fenway Park is the most beloved ballpark in Major League Baseball," Menino said. "It's 100 years old and still maintains its character, even with all the improvements they've made. I want to congratulate the Red Sox for spending all their money on the ballpark. It was all their money and no public money was used to finance the renovations."

Have a question for Didier Morais? Send it to him via Twitter at @DidierMorais or send it here. He will pick a few questions to answer every week for his mailbag.

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