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Bobby Valentine Can Go Away … If You Just Ignore Him

By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
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Bobby Valentine (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Bobby Valentine (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

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BOSTON (CBS) — Bobby Valentine, at his core, really wants two things. He wants to be loved, and he wants attention.

He struggles badly with the former, but he’s got the latter part down to a science.

The former Red Sox manager proved as much yet again this week by sitting down with Bob Costas for an interview on a TV show which has in the past ranked behind an infomercial on the TV Guide Channel in the ratings. Yet when Bobby V goes on the show, it becomes the talk of the town.

By now, you’ve likely heard what Valentine had to say, but if you haven’t, here’s the digest: It’s all my fault, and I’m to blame … but here are a handful of other people you should blame, too. He said the “Nice inning, kid” incident with Will Middlebrooks never happened. He recycled a story about three envelopes for the new manager. He said his Kevin Youkilis comments were “at least benign,” that his biggest regret is not having his own coaching staff, and that the season was all but over the moment David Ortiz “decided” not to play anymore.

Of course, Valentine has himself discussed and admitted to the Middlebrooks dugout quip, and as was evidenced by the fallout with Youkilis that led to his eventual trade, questioning his dedication to the game was far from benign. And of course, while Ortiz may have “decided” not to play anymore after attempting a comeback in late August, his Achilles tendon might have had something to say about that “decision.” The Red Sox’ 60-66 record, which had them 13.5 games out of first place at the time, likely had a say as well. Certainly, even with Ortiz’s faults, nobody could rightly blame him for not wanting to risk his career so that he could play out the string for a last-place team.

But no matter. You could sit here all day every day trying to refute the lies and deception of Bobby V. It won’t get you very far. It’s time to take the only step that could possibly get this man and his never-ending drama to go away for good.

Just ignore the guy.

The man aspires, above all else, to be relevant. For 10 glorious months of his life, he had that opportunity. Folks came from far and wide to gush about his deck-building skills or his undying energy (did you know he rides a bicycle?!) or any number of things that had nothing to do with his competency as a major league manager. When it came to that, his actual job, there wasn’t much positive to say.

Yet all season, with that much being evident, Valentine managed to always provide everybody with something else to talk about. Whether it was an off-color answer to a question at a press conference, setting a Red Sox record for most ejections in a season, threatening radio hosts with a punch to the nose, texting while cycling and crashing into a ditch after French tourists get in his way in New York, or any other ridiculous story line from December through September, Valentine tried his hardest to manage the script as best he could.

And you know, at times it really worked. There were various points in the season where the clearly incompetent and ego-driven manager manipulated stories that almost made him out to be the sympathetic figure. That’s no small feat.

Yet, with the Red Sox posting their worst record since before half the fan base was even born, and with the dust not yet settled on an entire season of turmoil, he couldn’t avoid the reality that he could not do his job and needed to be fired. And he was.

And on the day when the Red Sox officially introduced his successor, Valentine yet again managed to become the story.

In a lot of ways, watching Valentine weave in and out of lies and filter in a fair amount of fake smiles and “can you believe how ridiculous that is??” talk to Costas on Tuesday night was like watching Michael Scott, the former boss on The Office who is one of the greatest characters in comedic TV history. Michael Scott is hilarious to watch because he is wildly incompetent, completely lacks self-awareness and, above all else, is entirely fictional. Watching Michael Scott on TV is funny because the show provides entertainment; having Michael Scott as your boss in real life becomes a whole lot more frustrating than funny. You need only look at the attitude of the Red Sox under Valentine’s “leadership” for proof.

But like The Office boss, Valentine desperately wants to be loved. When he’s in a room, he wants to win the crowd over, regardless of whether that crowd includes one person or 1 million people. He tells them what he thinks they want to hear, and he ends up spinning lies and twisting facts in order to come out looking great. What he doesn’t understand, though, is that all people want to hear most of the time is the plain and simple truth.

But Bobby will never understand that, so it’s best that we all just stop listening.

Read more from Michael by clicking here, or find him on Twitter @michaelFhurley.

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