You're Bobby Valentine and you know you're "cooked"


You’re Bobby Valentine and you are starting to wonder if you can find another media job, when you are fired by the Red Sox, before the All-Star game break.

You’re wondering if you should wait for that standard disingenuous statement:  “we are 110% behind Bobby Valentine” from the Braintruss on Yawkey Way, or just call ESPN about a fallback position; maybe you and Tito could do a show together? Maybe reprise that old Saturday Night LIVE evening news skit with Jane Curtin and Dan Aykroyd: ‘Tito, you ignorant slut!’

You learned to speak Japanese and you are quite familiar with word for “outsider,” “alien,” or “foreigner”– “gaijin” and its negative, pejorative connotation. You are starting to feel like a “gaijin,” an unwelcomed outsider in Red Sox Nation. [You are from Connecticut, a state suspected of harboring Yankee fans.]

You’re Bobby Valentine and you recall that on the first of December, when the Red Sox introduced you as their new manager at the news conference, you said:

“I hope I’ll change for the better…

I’ve had bad experiences that I hope I’ve learned from…”

You were specifically referring to the times you were over-candid, too talky with the media in New York and when you told Sports Illustrated exactly how you felt about a cabal of Mets’ players, who were challenging your authority:

“You’re not dealing with real professionals in the clubhouse,” Bobby said. “You’re not dealing with real intelligent guys for the most part. A lot can swim, but most of them just float along, looking for something to hold on to. That’s why, I’m sure, they’re having a players-only meeting. Because there’s about five guys in there right now who basically are losers, who are seeing if they can recruit.”

In reference to that statement, we wrote on this website:

“This time, if a player…[challenges] you, you will not communicate indirectly through the media. This time you will call the ringleader into your office for man-to-man, gloves off, conversation and air it out in person.”

But, we were wrong.

You’re Bobby Valentine, the same Bobby Valentine who ripped your own players, publicly. And, like a junkie, you just can’t help yourself; you are addicted to attention, the opportunity to show everyone how smart you are. And you are a very astute baseball guy; you know baseball and how to play that chess game on a grass board.

You are Bobby Valentine and, like a junkie, you are your own worst enemy.

You told your ego that you were “cured” and your ego just laughed and sang that Neil Young lyric: “And, every junkie’s like the setting sun”–the one that means that, unless they can find a way to overcome their addiction, they are all, like the setting sun, inexorably “going down.”

You thought that New England couldn’t be any tougher than the Big Apple, but then Peter Gammons gave you a wake-up call today:

“This is New England, where the Red Sox matter more than taxes, health care or presidential politics, where words are dissected like Supreme Court decisions.”

[http://boston.redsox.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20120417&content_id=28893858&vkey=news_bos&c_id=bos]

You’re Bobby Valentine and you hear the talk radio guys ripping you for breaking the cardinal rule of the clubhouse: “If you have a problem with a player, you invite him into your office, close the door, have it out and reach an understanding.” Or, as the saying goes: “You don’t hang your dirty laundry out on the line.”  The WEEI pundits say you were wrong to criticize Youkilis publicly and then they got on you for apologizing for what you said.

You’re Bobby Valentine and you mash the radio buttons to change to the station to some easy listening music; ironically, although you are fascinated by the sound of your own voice, you’re tired of all the talk about you.

You knew that you were not the first choice of the first-year GM, Ben Cherington; you knew that he felt that you were forced on him; Ben was told by the club CEO Larry “I’m Feelin’ Lucky” Lucchino that he had to stick his left leg into that potato sack with your right leg and bind a rope, tightly, around the two legs; you were was not the partner he wanted for the Three-Legged Race for the Pennant; Cherington was forced to wed your performance to his job security; so he forced the muscles at the corners of his mouth to flex and bared his teeth. Many humans assume that, when a chimp bares his teeth, he is happy, but the chimp’s expression indicates that “it is afraid, or that a more dominant chimp is approaching.” [http://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chimpanzee]

At your core you knew that, as soon as the knob of a bat was dragged in the Fenway clay, Ben would be on the other side:

“I think Bobby wishes he had expressed the sentiment to Kevin first…I think an apology was appropriate even though it wasn’t Bobby’s intent [to criticize Youkilis],” Cherington said.

Shortly after the comments went public, you said: “There’s a perception that I’m going to criticize players in the paper or the press. So as soon as I (say) something that’s construed as criticism, it’s going to be misinterpreted.” Really, Bobby? Really?

You’re Bobby Valentine and you were absolutely right: There was a definite perception that you were going to “criticize players in the paper or the press.”  Yes, you were fully aware of that, and you even publicly recognized that tendency at your introductory press conference:

“I hope I’ll change for the better…

I’ve had bad experiences that I hope I’ve learned from…”

But, like the junkie with all the best intentions, who had convinced himself that he had his addiction “under control,” you signed on for weekly appearances on local and national interview shows and talked to anybody with a microphone or pad.

You’re Bobby Valentine and, although there was plenty of room on the sidewalk to walk around it, you performed an act of self-destruction, seduced by your ego’s addiction to attention, and you stepped right into that tempting and familiar pile of steaming dog shit.

You read Richard Justice [columnist for MLB.com], who was optimistic about your fate:

“If there’s a true silver lining, it’s that there are 152 games remaining, and Valentine has plenty of time to rebuild the trust that was broken between him and his players. One of the oldest and truest clichés in sports is that winning cures everything. The Red Sox will have the next five months to prove it.”

But, while you may not be able to control your ego’s need for attention, you are a very intelligent human being and you know there can be no “silver lining” in a shit storm. You knew that this would end badly, when scrappy Dustin Pedroia said:

“I really don’t know what Bobby’s trying to do, but that’s not the way we go about our stuff around here…He’ll figure that out. The whole team is behind Youk.”

Then, asked if you were trying to motivate Youkilis, Pedroia said, “Maybe that works in Japan.”

You’re Bobby Valentine and you are too smart not to “get it.” You realize that, during the ten years you were away from The Show, the millionaire patients have completely taken over the Selig Asylum and, now, your best career choice is to parlay your vast baseball knowledge, intellect, and desperate need for public attention, by performing behind the ESPN desk on Baseball Tonight.

You are a literary man and you have likely read the volume of essays by the died-too-young, brilliant author, David Foster Wallace, entitled Consider The Lobster.

You’re Bobby Valentine and you know that once a lobster squirms through that small hole in the trap, he cannot reverse course; his fate is sealed. As a self-proclaimed gourmet chef, you know how to cook a lobster, proper.

Yet, you chose to dance on the rim of the pot of boiling water with the self-proclaimed self-awareness that one mis-step would mean you were doomed to land “in hot water” and, within fifteen minutes, you had to know that you would be “cooked.”

You’re Bobby Valentine and you must know that the cover has been placed over the pot and that not a single  Red Sox fan in New England can hear your voice anymore; the citizens of Red Sox Nation can only hear that familiar desperate scratching sound.

Up “they-yah” and Down East, folks know that, to people “from away,” it sounds like a scream when the lobster hits boiling water. But, Sox fans in New England know, the lobster isn’t screaming; it’s just the sound of air, expanding as it heats, that last gasp of hot air rushing from the heedless lobster’s body.

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Tags: Author Baseball Tonight Ben Cherington Bobby Valentine Consider The Lobster David Foster Wallace Down East Dustin Pedroia ESPN From Away Jane Curtin And Dan Aykroyd: ‘Tito Kevin Youkilis Larry Lucchino Lobster New England Outsider Peter Gammons Red Sox Fans Red Sox Nation Saturday Night LIVE SNL Sports Illustrated Tito Francona “gaijin” ” “alien ” “foreigner”