How combative have things gotten between the local media and
Bobby Valentine? On Wednesday, Bobby V. wore boxing gloves to an interview.
It was the manager's way of having a little fun with WEEI
co-hosts Glenn Ordway and Michael Holley during his weekly conversation on The
Big Show. Last week, you'll remember, Valentine jokingly told Ordway he
would punch the Big O in the mouth if he was in the same room with him.
They found themselves in the same room on Wednesday. No punches were
thrown. Later, he sat down with me for our monthly edition
of The Bobby Valentine Show which appears Thursday night on NESN. He said
all this talk of his radio appearances is much ado about nothing.
"Guess what, Tom, it's not life or death and there's no big
deal," Valentine said. "There's even other words you could use for that,
but I can't use them on the air, so once you say stuff you can't put the genie
back in the bottle. If you say stuff and it's good radio, good TV, it's good
whatever — call in — who cares, make it happen. I think it's better than
saying 'Yeah; no; maybe; could be; might be; another time; thank you; see ya.' It's better radio, it's better TV."
Valentine's technique as an interview subject is not why the Red
Sox are in last place, but it's fair to ask if letting the "genie out of the
bottle" has been a distraction to this team. Has it added to the circus
atmosphere that has prevailed at Fenway in the summer of 2012?
"Well, what I have found is the biggest distractions aren't
what I say," said Valentine. "It's what's been made up about what's
perceived to be done, said or felt or something like that and players have to
get over that, they have to understand that the only thing that matters is the
pitcher that's pitching at you, the hitter that's hitting at you and the ball
that's being hit out to you in the field. Those are the important things
that really matter."
Through it all, Valentine maintains the belief that he is the
best man to run the Red Sox in 2013. That's no surprise. There are
30 major league managers who woke up this morning believing they were best
equipped to run their team.
The other 29 just aren't asked about keeping their job as often
as Valentine is.
"What is the answer?" said Valentine. "'Yeah, oh, I don't really like it here?' I can't believe it's asked so often. I can't
believe it actually. But I haven't come up with a great answer for it yet, but
eventually I will."
The bigger question is how the Red Sox rebuild themselves into a
contender for 2013. What changes would make Valentine, or any manager,
successful next season?
"This is my fourth rodeo, fourth time I've taken over a team," said
Valentine, "and every team I've taken over at the beginning has had major
situations that had to be dealt with and when you weed out the weak, and things
change and you get on the right highway, eventually it's smooth sailing. A lot
of things have to get done and we've been in the process of doing that."
It has been a painful process to watch. Three weeks from
now it will all be over. And then the process will kick into high gear.
The Bobby Valentine Show airs Thursday night at 5:30 pm on NESN.