Editor's note: NESN.com is going to tell the story of the 2012 Red Sox in Bobby Valentine's words. Each game day, we will select a Valentine quote that sums up the day for the Red Sox.
Back when I was attending a couple job interviews for a position as a writer and editor for NESN's new media department, one of the questions I was asked was what kind of content I would like to see on the website, or what sorts of features would work well.
My reply, apparently having done poor advance research, was that NESN.com should have a "Bobby Valentine quote of the day," which seemed like an obvious answer given the manager's known habit of just saying eye-catching things for print. Little did I know that such a feature already existed — this very "According to Bobby" daily writeup which you are now reading.
So, if we're hoping for Bobby V to say something outrageous, this was what we were waiting for, right? This is the quote that takes the cake, right?
First and foremost, let's get one thing out of the way: anyone who doesn't believe that Valentine's metaphorical challenge to duel WEEI's Glenn Ordway wasn't completely facetious needs to have their head examined. Were Valentine's remarks still uncalled for? An argument can be made, but this was absolutely no real call to violence.
In fact, Valentine admitted to The Boston Globe's Peter Abraham that the last time he actually punched somebody was back in the '70s — former All-Star pitcher Clyde Wright – who played 10 major-league seasons between three organizations.
"What an embarrassing thing to say," said Valentine to Ordway on Wednesday afternoon. "If I were there
right now, I'd punch you right in the mouth. Ha. How's that sound? Is
that like I checked out? What an embarrassing thing."
Now, the question is whether or not Ordway's question about Valentine's reported late arrival to a game in Oakland was unfair. The answer is that it probably wasn't, but at the same time Valentine likely had a right to be upset.
The story was originally broken by The Globe's Nick Cafardo, who has just about as much integrity as any sports journalist, and who deserves the benefit of the doubt in terms of his reporting. But on the flip side of the coin, Valentine's explanation — that he was stuck in a traffic jam picking up his son from the airport, and had adequately checked in with his coaches — was never reported, and seems like an absolutely reasonable reply.
Is Valentine out of his element, or was this a real-life case of the Boston sports media's overly rabid attitude?
The answer to that is we'll likely never know, but both parties deserve the benefit of the doubt — which probably isn't an easy answer for the win-immediately Boston sports fan culture to accept. Likewise, it is very much the easy answer — in the context of everything else that's happened this season — to label Valentine as having "quit" in 2012, but that is exactly what it is — just an easy answer.
Sports are never so simple, and professional athletes (or managers of professional athletes) just have too much pride to "quit." Is Valentine frustrated and acting slightly erratically? Of course, but who connected to this team hasn't acted erratically this year?
Whatever the reality of the situation, everyone involved — the media, the players and Bobby V himself now — would probably do better, as difficult as it may be, to patiently wait for constructive answers rather than looking for (literal or metaphorical) blood.