3:45 pm Oct. 4, 20121
In an email discussion with a friend who roots for the Boston Red Sox this past offseason, I offered this reassurance about this team's just-hired manager, Bobby Valentine.
"Valentine 's nonsense takes pressure off of his players. Really, just a very good choice, in my opinion."
If only I could have been right about Valentine, and wrong about the 2012 Mets.
Instead, Valentine was fired on Thursday after a single, disastrous season in which a Red Sox team expected to contend lost 93 games, the first to lose more than 90 games since 1966.
The full picture of his flameout probably means Valentine has managed his last game in the major leagues.
Remember, after a Mets tenure that finished poorly, but included a pair of playoff appearances, Valentine went a decade without another major league job, in part due to fears that his personality would prove to be a distraction.
I prefer to think of the good times with Bobby Valentine. Not his storied, transformative time in Japan, where he remains a cultural icon, although that was all pretty impressive.
I'm thinking of how of his time at Shea, and the 2000 season when he took a talented, but not remarkably so, Mets team to the World Series. (Your N.L. pennant-winning outfield? Benny Agbayani, Jay Payton and late-career Derek Bell.) Also: I'll always regard it as a travesty that Valentine got fired before Steve Phillips did.
So enjoy your pound of flesh, angry Red Sox fans. To me, Bobby Valentine will always be Grand Slam Singles and Groucho Glasses.