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Bobby Valentine radio controversy an absolute joke

04.05.12 at 11:58 am ET
By

Bobby Valentine (AP)

This is a joke, right?

I mean, no one actually cares that Bobby Valentine – who, during the course of the season, will speak twice a day to beat writers, once a day to WEEI in pregame and Jenny Dell of NESN in postgame and will also do a 20-minute weekly spot on The Big Show — is going to spend 10 minutes a week getting softball questions from his pal Michael Kay, do they?

Oh wait. It’s a New York radio station. Uh, OK. So what? I have to admit, I was stunned — stunned — when I heard negative feedback to this announcement Wednesday morning. Once you get past the surprise that ESPN radio in New York would want a manager from another city on every week (sounds great in theory, but how about Bobby V for 15 minutes in late August if the Sox are 68-70?) is there really any reason to be outraged?

Anyone who thinks this will have any impact on this team in 2012 is crazy. Again, fans and media (media more than fans, by the way, and we’ll get to that) care about this stuff more than the players. Here’s how the Red Sox struggle in 2012 — Clay Buchholz gets hurt, Josh Beckett doesn’t pitch well, a couple of injuries to key everyday players. Not Bobby Valentine talking to Michael Kay. It’s meaningless.

And the argument I keep hearing is that no other coach in Boston does this, it’s just more proof of Valentine’s ever-burgeoning megalomania, it’s asking for trouble.

First, what other coach/manager in Boston would have been offered this kind of spot before? The guy a) managed in New York for almost a decade, b) is a lightning rod and c) is buddies with the host of the show. You think Terry Francona or Doc Rivers or Claude Julien has ever been approached for a weekly interview in another market? Of course not (obviously Bill Belichick is a different story). And you know what? If the money was right, I’m sure they’d jump at a chance at six figures for 10 minutes every week. Why wouldn’t they? This is America, we still operate as a capitalistic society last time I checked.

And the idea that 600 seconds a week with Kay is going to be the tipping point in terms of Valentine losing focus or lacking preparation is just moronic. It’s a taped phone call, he’ll probably do it in the car on the way to the office. I’m sorry, the guy isn’t trying to cure cancer, he’s a freaking baseball manager. It’s a tough job, sure, but not that tough. He can probably figure out how to talk to Kay without having the whole operation crumble. And Kay isn’t going to ask Valentine anything — it’s going to be slap and tickle, awful radio. Valentine is not going to rip a player in that spot, frankly he’s far more likely to it with Ordway and Holley.

It’s almost comical to hear folks in the media trying to make an issue out of this with no sense of irony — a lot of this garbage coming from guys who work two or three different jobs all the time. Find me a single member of the media who would turn down a weekly (paid) spot on the radio out of fear of losing focus on his or her main job and then we’ve really got a story here.

Bottom line: If the Red Sox get off to a quick start and are good all season you won’t hear word one about this. And if they are mediocre some people — lazy ones, mostly — will point to the Michael Kay interviews as at least part of the problem. Now, I could be wrong, but I’m betting Buchholz’s back and Beckett’s thumb and Carl Crawford‘s wrist have no clue that Bobby Valentine goes on the radio in New York every week, just as I’m sure Dustin Pedroia won’t be thinking about the possible conflicts when he’s facing a 100 mph fastball at 1:30 on Thursday.

There are plenty of issues to be concerned about when it comes to the 2012 Red Sox — and Valentine the Manager is absolutely fair game, no clue if it’ll work out — but to try and sell a manager appearing on another market’s radio show as a potential road block to success is simply appealing to the least intelligent sports fan (and Curt Schilling) and nothing more. Just total pandering to the crowd that has already made up their minds about Valentine. This is really the best Opening Day controversy the media can force on us?

What a joke. And if the Sox start out 2-10 again, it’s sadly going to be a joke with legs. Why bother with legitimate criticism when a soundbite works so much better?

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