From Comcast SportsNetSEATTLE (AP) -- Boston manager Bobby Valentine insisted he wasn't serious Wednesday when he threatened to punch a talk-show host in the mouth.Hours later, his Red Sox put up little fight at the plate.Valentine said he made it clear he was kidding when he made the comment during an interview on Boston radio station WEEI with hosts Glenn Ordway and Michael Holley."Didn't I go, Ha, ha?'" the embattled Valentine asked before his fourth-place team lost 2-1 to the Seattle Mariners. "I don't think physical violence is necessary for 60-year-old people."Ordway, sighting a newspaper report that Valentine arrived later than normal for a game last week in Oakland, asked if the manager had "checked out" on the season.Valentine responded on the air:"What an embarrassing thing to say. If I were there right now, I'd punch you right in the mouth. Ha, ha," he said. "How's that sound? Sound 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?"Meeting later with reporters in Seattle before the game, Valentine acknowledged he took offense to Ordway's question and explained that he arrived at the Coliseum in Oakland later than usual -- but still 3 hours before the game -- because he had picked up his son from the airport and got stuck in traffic."If anyone in this room or any other room I've been in in my life wants to question my integrity, I will ask someone to referee that situation," he said.Valentine added that if a writer "thought that was important and wanted to write seriously about it, they could have asked what the situation was and I would have been happy to tell them. No one asked the reasons."He went on to describe them.Valentine said he picked up his son from the San Francisco airport in the morning for his first visit on the road during "this lousy season." The plane was late, then he had to return to his San Francisco hotel to pick up his game information before driving over the Bay Bridge to the Coliseum."That was a mistake," Valentine said. "There was traffic around the hotel and an accident on the freeway. I got there a little later than normal, not late. My workday starts at 4:30 p.m., in my opinion. I got to the stadium at 4:04 p.m."He said he had called in that night's lineup at 2 p.m. and had checked with the trainer on the condition of injured players."To see my son for a couple more hours," he said, "is more than worth the trade-off of sitting around in my underwear in the clubhouse for two hours."Just ask me the question. Don't think everyone in the room is smart enough to figure out what I meant. That's not my fault."Valentine said he told his coaches he would be a little late, and he called in to say he was delayed in traffic on his way to "the stupid Oakland Coliseum.""For someone to say that I was late is an absolute disgrace to their integrity if they have any," he said.During the radio interview, Valentine went on to say that his first season as Red Sox manager has been "miserable."Asked to clarify later, he said: "The last two weeks have been very trying. Lots of obstacles in my way and I thought I've jumped them, and sometimes you get knocked down by them."It's turned out to be not what I expected. It's been a little misery, yeah," he said. "I'm not sure it's 247, but I would think after a loss I'm miserable. ... It's been adventurous, challenging."Valentine signed a two-year deal last winter and has said he wants to return in 2013. Red Sox management has maintained that no decision will be made until after the season is over.The last few weeks have not gone well. Boston went 1-8 on a brutal road trip for the club's worst West Coast swing since a 1-8 debacle in September 1989."This was not a good road trip, obviously," Valentine said. "One of the worst I've ever experienced."The Red Sox are 10-24 since Aug. 1."I'd like us to play together and show that we've got a lot of pride," Valentine said. "I think we do and I think we'll grind it out, be a spoiler along the way. That would be fun, too."
Defense of their second NBA title in three seasons begins in earnest Tuesday night, when the Warriors invite the reconfigured Houston Rockets into Oracle Arena.
There will be a pregame ceremony in which the Warriors will receive their championship rings.
The Warriors, who believe the additions of Nick Young and Omri Casspi will result in improved the bench production, are coming off a season in which they led the NBA in scoring offense, with the Rockets finishing second.
Houston made considerably more adjustments over the summer, acquiring perennial All-Star point guard Chris Paul and rugged forward PJ Tucker.
Warriors by 9.5
MATCHUPS TO WATCH
Stephen Curry vs. Chris Paul: These two veterans, both headed for the Hall of Fame, have been at war for the better part of a decade, with Curry gaining in decided edge in recent years. That was when Paul was the leader of the once-hated Los Angeles Clippers. With Paul moving to Houston, it will be interesting to see if a change in scenery means a different type of battle. The winner likely decides the outcome.
Klay Thompson vs. James Harden: Familiar from their days as prep stars in Southern California, these two, by most accounts, are the top two shooting guards in the league. Though Harden assumed the point role last season, he’ll have greater latitude to generate his own shot now that Paul is on board.
Warriors: F Omri Casspi (R ankle sprain) is listed as probable. F Andre Iguodala (back strain) is listed as out.
Rockets: No injuries listed.
RECENT SERIES HISTORY
The Warriors won three of four meetings last season and have won 12 of the last 15 regular-season meetings overall. They also have won eight of the last 10 meetings in the postseason.
THREE THINGS TO WATCH
THE SCOREBOARD: Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni implies this will be a shootout. Warriors forward Draymond Green responds by saying one team (the Warriors) plays defense. It’s conceivable the teams could combine for 75 3-point attempts. The scoreboard could blow out before the final buzzer.
THE NEW GUYS: Because he is in constant motion and feels the angles, Casspi seems to be a good fit for the Warriors offense. Young is coming along, but admits he’s still learning the nuances of the offense and feeling out his teammates. It may not be fair to expect much in Game 1, but their work is sure to be examined.
THE POMP: There is the celebration of a championship, the ceremony in which rings (and the ultra-elaborate boxes) will be presented, and the adoration of a sellout crowd. The Warriors are becoming veterans at being celebrities, but what happens when emotions are part of the equation?
“I saw what happened last year when San Antonio just drilled us. Saw that we were able to recover. So whatever happens, it’s just one game.” --Warriors GM Bob Myers on opening night nerves
Former 49ers quarterback Jeff Garcia liked what he saw from rookie C.J. Beathard, who replaced benched starter Brian Hoyer on Sunday.
“It looks like he has that physical and mental toughness,” said Garcia, now an analyst on NBC Sports Bay Area on the latest 49ers Insider Podcast.
“That’s the thing you like to see out of a quarterback, to be a leader, to demonstrate what it’s all about and get everybody on board following him, and to play hungry, to play intense, to demand perfection out of yourself, to want to make every play.”
With Beathard taking over at quarterback, the 49ers rallied from a 17-point deficit to tie the game in the third quarter. He also bought time with his legs to escape the pocket and throw a 45-yard touchdown pass to Aldrick Robinson in the closing minutes to give the 49ers an opportunity for a last-second win.
However, the 49ers lost their fifth consecutive game by three points or less with a 26-24 loss at Washington.
Beathard played with a sense of purpose and urgency Garcia said he did not see from Hoyer, who is playing for his seventh team in nine NFL seasons.
“I kept waiting for Brian to be that guy and he just wasn’t,” Garcia said. “That’s what frustrated me about Brian. Here he had a great opportunity to come in and be a starter and secure a position and take hold of a position for, really, the first time in his career.
“In retrospect, maybe he just is who he is, and that’s why he’s played for so many teams, and that’s why he’s never been considered a full-time starter or 'the guy' in the National Football League.”
Garcia added, “He left a door open, a window open, for another guy to step in and take advantage of it, and that’s what C.J. did. He was very opportunistic on Sunday in stepping onto the field and immediately having an impact.”