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Bobby Valentine, How Great Thou Art

Thursday, December 1, 2011, 11:45 EDT Leave a comment Go to comments

(This article was originally posted at The Triumphant Red Sox Fan Forum.)

Bobby Valentine, ballroom dancer (photo from YankeeAnalysts.com)

Photo from YankeeAnalysts.com

With the hiring of Bobby Valentine as the new Red Sox manager, now seems as good a time as any to jump back into this blog. The 2011 season never did grab me, plus I bought a house and moved and just didn’t have much time to spend on baseball, besides listening to the games on the radio while I spackled or painted or did little fix-it jobs. Believe me, I was glad I had so many other distractions when September rolled around and blogging, if I had been doing any, would have consisted of various permutations of “This team sucks.”

But back to Valentine. I’ve never been a big fan—what’s the guy done, anyway?—and I was utterly underwhelmed with the news of his signing. It isn’t that I don’t think he knows his baseball. I realize he’s smart. But he also has an ego the size of Cape Cod Bay and doesn’t mind showing it. The last Boston manager or coach who thought this much of himself and let everyone know it was Rick Pitino, and we all know how that turned out.

Sometimes, though, it takes someone else to show you the error of your ways. And I have been properly chastened by ESPN’s Tim Kurkjian, who earlier this week informed me and the rest of the world that Bobby V. can do it all.

[H]e sees what others don’t. He never misses a thing — and no one, but no one, is going to fool Bobby Valentine.

[ . . . ]

I can tell you that no one knows the game better than Bobby V. He can be smug and he can be arrogant, but he has a right to be. Bobby Valentine has thrived at most things he has done in his life. He was a great football player; he once scored six touchdowns in the first half of a game at Stamford (Conn.) High School. He was heading to USC to replace O.J. Simpson at tailback, but he chose baseball over football after then-Dodgers general manager Al Campanis asked him, “What would you rather do, play against the best football players in the Pac-10 or against the best baseball players in the world?”

[ . . . ]

There have been few ballroom dancers better than Bobby Valentine…

[ . . . ]

Valentine managed seven years in Japan. He won a championship, but he did much more. In some ways, he changed the way they played baseball in Japan.

[ . . . ]

Humanitarian? Ballroom dancer? Science fair guy? Gourmet chef? Restaurateur? Director of Public Health? Valentine is all of these things. How? Where does he find the time? He told me 25 years ago, “Sleep is overrated,” and it must be, because I don’t know when he sleeps.

To God’s ears from Kurkjian’s lips, which I understand are soon to be surgically affixed to Valentine’s left cheek. And I don’t mean the one on his face.

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