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Transcript of Bobby Valentine on The Big Show: ‘If I were there, I’d punch you right in the mouth’

09.05.12 at 4:01 pm ET
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Making his weekly appearance on The Big Show on Wednesday afternoon, Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine turned in an interview that could go down as one of the most heated exchanges a Boston coach has ever had.

Valentine said he wanted to punch host Glenn Ordway “right in the mouth,” but noted that he would like to return to manage the Red Sox in 2013, even after a 2012 season that he characterized as a personally “miserable” one.

“This is what I chose to do. I think it’s been miserable, but it’s also been part of my life’s journey,” said Valentine. “You learn from misery.”

Asked if he was concerned about the ownership not commenting on whether he’d return next season, Valentine replied, “No, would it concern you?”

He added that he would like to manage the Sox next season.

“Of course,” he said. “If that’s what I’m asked to do, that’s what I’m going to get paid to do.”

Valentine took particular issue to two questions. The first occurred when he was asked if he had “checked out” on a season in which the Red Sox have fallen 11 games under .500.

“What an embarrassing thing to say. If I were there right now, I’d punch you right in the mouth. Ha, ha. How’s that sound? Is that like I checked out? What an embarrassing thing,” said Valentine. “Why would somebody even, that’s stuff that a comic strip person would write. If someone’s here, watching me go out at 2 o’clock in the afternoon, watching me put in the right relief pitchers to get a win, putting on a hit-and-run when it was necessary, talking to the guys after the game in the food room — how could someone in real life say that?”

Below is a complete transcript of the conversation:

Have you checked out?

What an embarrassing thing to say. If I were there, I’d punch you right in the mouth. Ha, ha. How’s that sound? Is that like I checked out? What an embarrassing thing. Why would somebody even, that’s stuff that a comic strip person would write. If someone’s here, watching me go out at 2 o’clock in the afternoon working with the young players, watching me put in the right relief pitchers to get a win, putting on a hit-and-run when it was necessary, talking to the guys after the game in the food room — how could someone in real life say that?

You were late at a ballgame last week.

I shouldn’t have to explain that. That pisses me off. Whoever wrote that knew what happened. They knew that my son was coming to see me for the first time in this lousy season and that I got to see him on the road, and that his flight was late, and that I was waiting at the airport in San Francisco for his flight to come in, and that came in, I sent the lineup in and reported to my coaches that I was going to be a little late. For someone to say that I was late is an absolute disgrace to their integrity, if they have any.

Are you showing up putting in your best effort? Are your players?

I just told you, when you said what you said, you should apologize to me for saying that I came late.

Were you not late?

I wasn’t late. When you call in and say that you’re delayed in traffic coming from the San Francisco Airport to the stupid Oakland Coliseum and that there’s a traffic jam, then you’re not late, no.

How did it make the papers?

When I walked into the clubhouse with my son, the press was already in the clubhouse. You would think that one of these incompetent people would say, or ask a question, “Hey, why is it 4 o’clock …” — and, you know, 4 o’clock, like that’s so late for a 7:15 game. Joe Maddon gets there every day at 4 o’clock, just for the record — when I walked in and someone is going to write that, wouldn’t you think that they’d say, “Hey — why is it that you just got to the ballpark? You’re usually here at 2. Why are you here today at 4?’ And I could have introduced them to my son, and explained to them about the flight that was delayed because of the fog, and that I was waiting at the San Francisco Airport and that his phone had died and I had no way of letting him know I wasn’t going to be there.

Are you concerned that the owners haven’t said whether you will be back in 2013?

No. Should it concern you?

I’d be concerned if it was my job.  I would want assurances.

This is not who I am. This is just what I am. I am concerned with who I am.

Do you want to come back next year?

I want to do whatever I can do to wake up every morning and do the best I can at whatever I choose to do.

Do you choose to manage the Red Sox in 2013?

Of course, if that’s what I’m asked to do and that’s what I’m going to get paid to do. … Who wrote that I was late, by the way? That really pisses me off.

You said recently you aren’t doing a good job based on the record. John Henry, in a Sports Illustrated article, said that you have done a good job given what you faced. Now that you know what you know about the team, do you feel you’re doing a good job?

I come to work every day and give them the best that I can possibly do. If there’s something more that somebody else could have done and they could have done it better, then wallah to them. But all I know is I give my best every single day.

On the rest of the season:

It’s all about small victories. It’s all about trying to get things accomplished that you can check off the checklist. Having a young guy get a big home run last night in [Ryan] Lavarnway, I think that’s a checklist. It’s making sure he wasn’t giving up on himself as some might think some are giving up, to make sure that Dustin Pedroia understands his great effort is being totally appreciated even though it’s not the effort that’s going to bring this group to where it wants to go. To make sure that the arm’s OK. At the end of the season, if they can come back and be as good as they can possibly be, to do all the things that you do whether you’re in a championship pennant race or whether you’re in the situation we’re in to try to build and make things better tomorrow than they were today.

Nick Cafardo mentioned the tardiness in The Boston Globe.

Did he really? That’s really embarrassing, Nick. I’ll see him when I get out there. He could have asked me very easily.

He wasn’t the only one to report it.

Yeah I know, but it’s cheap journalism, isn’t it? Joe Maddon in his Sports Illustrated article, the article that just came out the other day, he said, “What do you think I’m going to do? Go around the clubhouse and sit around in my underwear for a couple of hours? I show up at 3:30 and 4:00 every day. Every day.” Does that mean he’s late every day?

On his postgame press conferences:

What difference does it make how I feel personally? “Oh, how does this make you feel?” What difference does it make how I feel personally? That’s what I said to Pete Abraham when he asked the question. Now does that mean that I don’t care? No, it means I care about how the players feel, and after the game I went around to a lot of the lockers, not every locker, and I tried to get the guys to feel like they can win the game and that their effort is being appreciated. That they’re trying to do too much and don’t try to do too much. And when I get in with the great press and I’m not in the greatest of moods, they’re going to start asking me, “Aw, so how is your temperature after losing all these games?” They want me to say, “Oh, man, I’m so pissed off. I can’t even stand it!” I’m not going to do that. Why would I do that? What difference does it make how I feel?

This is pretty good radio, today?

How was your breakfast meeting with John Henry in Seattle?

Breakfast itself was very disappointing. ‘€¦ The oatmeal was cold. They didn’t even have brown sugar for the oatmeal. Of all places, Seattle not having brown sugar. John Henry’s ham was overcooked, and they said this was one of the best breakfast spots in the city.

Did you like the exchange of information?

They want to make sure that they know that I know that they’re in it, that they give a darn, that they’re trying to do everything that they can to right the ship and be part of the solution and not part of the problem. Yeah, I thought it was a good meeting.

On pitching Alfredo Aceves as much as he did last week:

He wasn’t my closer at the time. Since Andrew Bailey has been back, we’ve been trying to stretch Alfredo out to see if we can lengthen, and Ben [Cherington] I talked about the possible chance of lengthening him out, to get more pitches thrown so that possibly if we needed a starter, he could jump into that rotation given our starting group is running a little thin. Is that a good reason for pitching him what would be 100 pitches in a game, I actually did it over that week’s span?

That’s a logical answer.

Well why didn’t you think of that? Or why didn’t someone write that? ‘€¦ You should already know that stuff, or someone should ask the question. You were right, you asked the question. People who are there every day don’t ask the question and would probably write something contrary to what’s happening.

But I did say that. I think I did say that quite a few times in the press that we’re trying to stretch him out.

Do you regret coming back to manage?

No, I don’t regret it. Regret returning? No, life is the journey you guys. You have to understand that. Everyone thinks that misery is something that people run away from. I think you learn from misery, you learn from challenges, you learn from failures as well as you learn from success. So, this what I chose to do. I think it’s been miserable, but I also think it’s been part of my life’s journey.

What have you learned from this year?

Obviously that in the month of September here that having things go as badly as they’ve gone, to still have so many friends that reach out to me every day. To have a friend who would be seen in public with me as I’m taking photographs with all the Boston fans on the ferry and he’s not running away from the friendship that we established for years. It’s very reassuring that life is a good thing.

Did you get a fair shake in Boston? If you had to do it all over again would you do things differently?

I think I tried to be myself, but I tried to adapt to a system and a culture that was kind of foreign to me. As I’ve said, I’ve done that before and I never saw it work right from the beginning, because I didn’t know everything that I was dealing with right from the beginning. It takes time to understand all the intricacies of the situation.

Does having to listen to multiple voices make it difficult to do the job the way you envisioned it?

I’m not sure where that’s coming from, but you’re trying to take all the information that you’re given, when you’re planning the game plan, you have to get the scouts information and the players information, medical information, coaches information, and then get a game plan together. Unfortunately, when you do it on the fly, it’s hard to decipher where the good information comes from.

Did you enough time to figure out the intricacies of the organization before the took the job?

Well, I didn’t come in here blindfolded. I knew there was a situation. I would say that along the way there probably could have been lot more briefing, but I think when I was bushwhacked I got out of the other side of the path OK, even though I might have been wounded here and there.

Ordway and Holley say they’ll talk to him next week.

I promise, if you don’t say anything about my family and things that are most upset about me, I’ll never get upset again.

Ordway says he was just asking about something that was reported.

I guess I should read the paper or at least have someone read it and say, “You know, can you believe this was reported,” so I could at least correct it before Wednesday comes around so I’m not bushwhacked.

Ordway: OK, we’ll see you next Wednesday.

All I’m going to say is I am very, very disappointed and personally hurt that someone would actually report that that was a day of coming late.

After 42 years on the job, to do something that was absolutely proper in waiting for my son’s late plane to get there. I know he’s 29 and he could have made it from San Francisco to Oakland on his own, but I wanted to be there when he got off that plane because that’s what I promised him, and to get there the same time another manager in my division gets there every day [Maddon] — not one day, every day, OK? And have someone report that that’s getting to work late, I think it’s just irresponsible.

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