Bobby Valentine, the new manager of the Boston Red Sox, is already making headlines with his “I hate the Yankees” quotation. As if the winter meetings in Dallas haven’t been exciting enough, you can always count on Bobby V to get things interesting. If Reggie Jackson was the straw that stirred the drink, consider Valentine to be the ladle that pours out the gravy.
Like him or not, Valentine is someone who has an energy that makes things happen. When he was manager of the Mets you could always count on him for some kind of quip or reaction that would make over the top seem low. Once, when he had been thrown out of the game by an umpire, he sat in the corner of the dugout wearing a disguise (sunglasses and a mustache) and was caught by the cameras. It is an unforgettable moment and I can still laugh about it.
Of course, there is a serious side to Valentine, and this was never more evident than after September 11, 2001. Valentine honored the families of the victims and handled himself well as the Mets played the first professional sports game held in the city after the attacks. Whatever else people think about him, at that time he and his players gave New York just what it needed most. It too is unforgettable and I will always respect Valentine for the way he spoke and acted at that time.
Now, of course, he wears a different uniform and manages the Boston Red Sox. People calling into the sports shows on talk radio here in New York were getting crazy today. It was kind of like “How dare Valentine say that about our Yankees!”
These people have to be kidding themselves. I have no illusions; Yankees fans hate the Red Sox just as much if not more. They broke the Curse of the Bambino and things haven’t been the same ever since in the American League East. Yankees fans know it and everyone else does too.
Besides, unless you are a Yankees fan, you probably hate the Yankees. Valentine was being honest (a rarity in sports these days) and saying what most fans of other teams think: we all hate the Yankees. As a Mets fan I can say I like Bobby V even better today than I did before. That will last until the Mets face the Red Sox in the World Series again, and the way the Mets are going, that probably won’t be until sometime after 2020.
So this Mets fan wishes Bobby Valentine well in Beantown. I hope the Red Sox and their fans will appreciate the man for his many talents, and forgive him when he says the wrong thing. Like Rex Ryan, that probably will be more often than not, but Valentine is entertaining and knows how to run a baseball team. You can bet Joe Girardi and his players are a little worried about that.
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