During the final weeks of his lone, tumultuous season as Red Sox manager, Bobby Valentine semi-jokingly offered to punch WEEI host Glenn Ordway "right the mouth" for suggesting he'd given up on the season.
Three months after Valentine was fired following 69 wins, 93 losses, and countless controversies as the Red Sox manager, he's gone from sparring -- verbally, that is -- with sports radio hosts to becoming one.
NBC Sports Group will announce Monday that Bobby Valentine is joining the NBC Sports Radio roster. He will host his own daily sports-talk program on the network, heard in Boston on 1510 AM, beginning in April. In the interim, he will make weekly call-ins to network affiliates.
The news of Valentine's new job was first reported by Sports Illustrated's Richard Deitsch.
“I think in my years here on earth, I have let people know I have an opinion about pretty much everything,” Valentine told Sports Illustrated. “I think I will remain true to that.”
The groundwork for Valentine to join NBC Sports Radio was laid less than three weeks after he was fired by the Red Sox. During an interview with "Costas Tonight" host Bob Costas that was recorded October 22 and aired the next day -- an interview that generated more controversy when Valentine said injured designated hitter David Ortiz "decided not to play anymore" after the Red Sox' trade with the Dodgers in late August -- Valentine was approached by a network executive with the idea of hosting his own show.
Given the disdain he showed for the genre during many of his weekly appearances on WEEI last season -- including the aforementioned contentious back-and-forth with Glenn Ordway in September -- the sports-radio path might seem a surprise.
But Valentine has extensive electronic media experience, most recently as an analyst for ESPN's "Sunday Night Baseball" before taking the Red Sox job. With ESPN lukewarm at best about any possibility of bringing him back, it's a reasonable opportunity, and one he said he's looking forward to approaching with candor.
"If I have a fault, it's that I tell the truth,'' he told Sports Illustrated. "You can't dictate to the customer what they want and I think a good host feels his audience and understands what they want and need and tries to provide it."
Valentine does have a couple of crucial characteristics of sports-talk host. He can talk a good game, and he's willing to defend his point of view.
“I think the only time I had a problem with someone on the other side of the microphone is when they crossed over the personal line or they were totally incorrect in whatever they were representing,'' he said. "I am going to try and not get personal. And I’m also going to try to be correct as often as possible.”
About Touching All The Bases
Irreverence and insight from Chad Finn, a Globe/Boston.com sports writer and media columnist. A winner of several national and regional writing awards, he is the founder and sole contributor to the TATB blog, which launched in December 2004. Yes, he realizes how lucky he is.