Bobby Valentine

Bobby Valentine fires back: David Ortiz 'didn't even understand what was going on'

Bobby Valentine fires back: David Ortiz 'didn't even understand what was going on'

Bobby Valentine’s volley back at David Ortiz on Thursday? Big Papi doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

“Obviously, David didn’t even understand what was going on,” Valentine said in a CBS Sports radio interview Thursday with Tiki Barber and Brandon Tierney.

An excerpt from Ortiz’s forthcoming book with Michael Holley, “Papi: My Story,” was released on SI.com on Thursday and thoroughly trashed Valentine, the Red Sox’ manager during a horrendous 2012 season. 

MORE: Ortiz details Bobby V disaster in book excerpt

One incident raised was when Valentine chewed out infielder Mike Aviles for calling for a pop up.

What Valentine wanted was outfielders to call for pop ups, and infielders to say nothing. On this, they agreed. Where they disagreed was why.

Here's how Ortiz said he understood it, via SI: "He thought that was an unreliable way of calling off a teammate because, in a noisy stadium, the player who’s being called off might not hear his teammate taking control. Well, all players have habits. And in American baseball, most infielders taking the play say, 'I got it.'"

Said Valentine to CBS: 

“There are rules in baseball that maybe I didn’t explain properly when I was there. Maybe that’s David’s confusion. In baseball — not in Bobby Valentine’s baseball — in all of baseball, the person who runs in for the ball calls for it. The person who runs out for the ball says nothing. So that you’re not saying something at the same time.

“The outfielder calls the ball, and the infielder does not say,'I’ve got it.' And we had a situation where Mike Aviles, I believe it was, continued to call, 'I got it,' when he would go out. And after doing it about the third time, I said, I asked him what his problem was, was it hearing or learning. And afterwards, it was like this major — and I said it with a loud voice, don’t get me wrong, and I might have even used an expletive or two to get my point across — but afterwards three or four of the guys came in and said how Mike was in his locker, and his head was down, and I had to apologize because I hurt his feelings and embarrassed him. And I thought that was rather, interesting, let me just put it that way. And I did apologize.

“Oh I absolutely apologized. I didn’t totally get it.”

“It wasn’t like the first time. It was after a couple times, and obviously, David didn’t even understand what was going on.”

 

Throwing punches?

Ortiz said in his book he would have punched Valentine in the face had Valentine treated him that way. Valentine responded by saying what he was asking his players to do is something his players do today at Sacred Heart University, where he is the executive director of athletics.

“You know, maybe, yeah, he was upset that I was yelling a player at who wanted to do things his way,” Valentine said. “Believe it or not, you know all of baseball, I have two college teams right here, they’re good college teams, I’ve watched them play pop ups … that’s just standard operational baseball procedure.”

Valentine also suggested Ortiz could have done more to express his feelings directly.

“Well, I wish he told me three weeks into the season instead of hugging me all the time when he saw me,” Valentine said laughing. "I’ve heard a lot of those general comments. But, whatever. I hope he sells a lot of books. … I hope I help him sell some."

(Valentine, you may recall, once threatened to punch WEEI radio host Glenn Ordway.)

 

Valentine took 'hardly anything' away from Boston

Asked what he takes away from his time with the Red Sox, Valentine tried to downplay it.

“Hardly anything. It was six months of life,” Valentine said. “It was 162 of 4,000 games that I was involved in. It wasn’t a lot of my life and it was you know pretty good for about 105 games and then it all went to hell and I guess it wasn’t pretty good at all because David said it wasn’t good after two days. You know, it was real tough duty. You know, no kind of systems that were necessarily in place. I felt like I was a little out on the island, but I was trying to do my best and that’s all I ever do, whatever I do. And it obviously wasn’t good enough.

Valentine said his marching orders weren’t extensive when he took the job.

“That was a crazy time going on there, you know? And do fundamentals in spring training,” Valentine said. “I heard that 100 times. Other than that there weren’t many directives."

Ortiz details Bobby V disaster in book excerpt

Ortiz details Bobby V disaster in book excerpt

An excerpt of “Papi: My Story,” David Ortiz’ book with Michael Holley, was released on SI.com Thursday. This might shock you, but it doesn’t make Bobby Valentine look great. 

The excerpt details the 2012 season, in which Valentine managed the Sox to a last-place finish in the AL East. In addition to dealing with Valentine, Ortiz was also going through a divorce. 

Ortiz notes that “everyone I knew was unimpressed with Valentine” at the time of his hiring, and that Ortiz believed that Larry Lucchino was “basically” the only person who wanted to hire him. Ortiz also says that he received “good luck” text messages when the team hired Valentine, and that some even suggested he retire rather than play for the man. 

From the book: 

The drama began almost immediately in spring training. I remember fighting the thought, very early, We’re going to have an absolutely terrible year.

It was all about him in the spring. It was as if he wanted to prove how smart he was by running us through all these drills he’d used while managing in Japan, drills we had never done before. Bobby was in his own bubble, and I just wanted to get him out of it and tell him, 'F--- you.'

He asked for a lot of changes, including some that were completely unnecessary. One of the more ridiculous ones was having players hit grounders to each other. I thought that was funny, especially for me. The Red Sox weren’t paying me to hit grounders; I was there to hit balls to the moon.

The problem was not that his drills were new. The bigger issue was how he expected players who had been in the big leagues a long time to immediately do things his way without any missteps. There had been a lot of conversations about our team the year before and how our lack of accountability led to our September collapse. Maybe Bobby was told to come in and boss around full-grown men. Maybe the Red Sox wanted to hire a daddy, not a manager.

One day we were doing his drills and the s--- hit the fan. We were hitting pop-ups, and Bobby had said that he didn’t want infielders to say, “I’ve got it, I’ve got it. . . .” He thought that was an unreliable way of calling off a teammate because, in a noisy stadium, the player who’s being called off might not hear his teammate taking control. Well, all players have habits. And in American baseball, most infielders taking the play say, 'I got it.'

So when our shortstop, Mike Aviles, got under a ball, he instinctively said, “I got it.” Bobby snapped. It was unlike anything I had ever seen in the majors. He went off on Aviles, cussing and verbally tearing him down in front of everyone. If it had been me, I would have gone up to him, right in front of the fans and dropped a punch.

Ortiz writes that he, Dustin Pedroia and Adrian Gonzalez decided to hold a meeting with Valentine to discuss how the team felt about him. That, Ortiz notes, was like “communicating with a wall,” as Valentine would not make eye contact withe players or listen to what they had to say. He says they left the office “shaking our heads.”  

Adds Ortiz:  

I was competitive enough to think that we could win a bunch of games despite Bobby’s ego. It didn’t take long for me to realize I’d been too optimistic. And when I say not long, I mean the first series of the season. We opened in Detroit and were swept by the Tigers. It was impossible to ignore the comments from my teammates about Bobby’s managing, how he made decisions that didn’t make sense and how generally clueless and distant he was. The next stop on our trip was Toronto. On the flight there, I experienced a first in my career.

Bobby’s seat was in the middle of the plane, and the players were in the back. That day I was near the front of our section. I remember looking up and seeing a line of my teammates walking toward me. They were pissed. They said, 'We want that mother------ fired before the airplane lands.'

I didn’t know what they might have done if they had gotten to him, but I felt it was way too early in the season for that kind of takeover. He was aggravating as hell, arrogant and disrespectful, but I felt that we needed to try our best to support him.

To read the full excerpt, click here. Pre-order the book here. 

 

Valentine: Talk of Japan ambassadorship is 'just speculation'

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Valentine: Talk of Japan ambassadorship is 'just speculation'

It’s been four days since rumors arose that Bobby Valentine could be named U.S. ambassador to Japan, but President-elect Donald Trump has not yet made an official announcement.

And Valentine's playing it close to the vest.

"All this talk about Japan is just speculation as far as I’m concerned," the ex-Rangers, Mets and Red Sox manager -- and current executive director of athletics at Sacred Heart in Fairfield, Conn. -- told CSNNE.com "but it’s an honor to even be in the conversation.

"That being said, I’m extremely happy at Sacred Heart University. It’s growing rapidly and is a very dynamic, exciting place to be."

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Valentine has been at Sacred Heart since 2013. The school plans to build the Bobby Valentine Athletic and Recreation Center in his honor.

Valentine spent 1995, and then 2004-09 in Japan, managing the Chiba Lotte Marines in the Nippon Professional Baseball League. His friend and fellow University of Southern California alum, Shinzo Abe, is the Japanese Prime Minister.