Before the Red Sox hosted the Tampa Rays in their regular season home finale Wednesday night at Fenway Park, first-year Boston manager Bobby Valentine addressed questions about his future with the club and whether he expected to return in 2013.
Asked if he had contemplated the notion that Wednesday night's home game could be his final Fenway appearance as the Sox manager, Valentine replied: "I'm not getting fired today, if that's what you mean."
When pressed about whether he came to the park thinking it might be his last day managing the Sox at home, Valentine sounded as though he were conducting an exit interview.
"I don't think so, not until you asked that," he said. "And if it is, I'd like to thank you all, or at least most of you, for your professionalism this year and your willingness to put up with all the stuff that goes on on a day-to-day basis and wish you all great health to you and your families. Enjoy."
The Sox entered Wednesday night's game with their worst home record (34-46) since going 34-47 at Fenway in 1965. They finished under .500 at home for the first time since 1997 (39-42).
Valentine was asked what he learned about himself this season.
ďWell I donít know about learning about myself, you know. I have the gas masks. I could handle the chemical weapons. The bullets penetrated a bit, but they didnít kill me. What did I learn about myself? Iím almost a year older, I know that, and itís gone quickly.íí
Asked how he would assess his performance based on his record, Valentine said, "Obviously [it] wasn't what I set out to do, so when you don't accomplish what you set out to do you feel like you haven't done a good enough job. It's simple.''
Valentine, however, dealt with a record number of injuries, upheaval on the roster, and the midseason blockbuster trade that sent the three highest-paid players -- Josh Beckett, Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford -- along with Nick Punto to the Dodgers in exchange for first baseman James Loney and four other minor league prospects,
Was it the job he thought he was getting?
"All those variables are things I feel I'm prepared to handle," he said. "When I come back next year. I think I'll be prepared to handle them and hopefully we'll have better results.
"Not much I would've done differently," Valentine said.
Then, interjecting a bit of gallows humor, he added, "I think I would have kept the beer in the clubhouse. I could have used it after a few of those games."