SEATTLE — Suffice it to say, Bobby Valentine did not appreciate his integrity being questioned by WEEI’s Glenn Ordway.
But the Red Sox manager said he was joking about punching Ordway in the mouth.
“Didn’t I go, ‘Ha ha?’ I think I did,” Valentine said. “I don’t think physical violence is necessary for 60-year-old people. I think it made the point that there are lines that should be drawn in the sand when someone’s trying to be professional and sounding unprofessional. Sometimes it’s better to be abrupt and then let everyone know you’re kidding.”
Ordway asked Valentine if he has “checked out” on the season. Then he asked Valentine why he was “late” to the game on Oakland last Friday when he arrived in the clubhouse at 4:19 p.m. for a 7:05 p.m. start.
Valentine, as was reported in the Globe the next day, was delayed by traffic after picking up his son at San Francisco International Airport.
“When you talk about someone’s family, when you talk about someone’s integrity, you draw the line of what should be done in the workplace. I think he’s working for a living, whoever asked that question. I think you all work for a living also. So I’ll just tell you in case you don’t know, that’s where I draw the line.”
Valentine then explained what happened last Friday.
“If you said I was late, you’re wrong,” he said. “If you didn’t want to reach out and get the details of the facts, I’ll tell you what the details were. It was a simple 9:30 (a.m.) arrival or about that at San Francisco Airport. I was going to see my son for the second time this year. I wanted to spend some quality time with him being he had one day in San Francisco.
“So I went out to pick him up and the plane was late. I had all my information for the game at the hotel and instead of going right from the airport to the [Oakland] Coliseum I stopped at the hotel. That was a mistake because I got in traffic leaving the town and then there’s was an accident on the highway, so I got to the stadium a little later than normal.
“Not late. My workday starts at 4:30 as far as I’m concerned and I got to the stadium about 4:04. A little later than normal. But if anybody cared about it and thought it was important to write seriously about it, they could have asked me what the situation was and I would have been happy to tell you.”
Valentine was questioned about 4:30 being the start of his workday given that he almost always arrives much earlier in the day.
“My duties prior to that are to get a lineup in and check with the training staff, which I did while I was in the car. I put the lineup in about 2 o’clock that day. That’s what the responsibilities to the guys who are waiting are.
“If anybody wants to know about my work habit, I can tell you this, that I took the job about Dec. 3, I started working Dec. 4. I took an apartment [in Boston] Dec. 10. I worked every day in the winter except for two for Christmas. I went to spring training early by two weeks. I had one off day in spring training and that day was a charity day, I did a charity event.
“Since the season started, I’ve had two off days that I’ve taken for myself and none of them I’ve been lucky enough to go home to my home in Connecticut. One day that I spent there, I was doing things related to the Boston Red Sox, OK? So if that’s enough work for anyone who’s writing about my commitment, it’s all I have. Every day, all day.
“To see my son for a couple of hours more I think is more than worth the tradeoff of sitting around in my underwear for two hours here in the clubhouse. So that’s that.”
Valentine was then asked about some of his comments in the last few weeks that some in the media have interpreted as “bizarre” or unusual.
Valentine said, for example, that hitting Scott Podsednik third one day was a mistake. Another day he said that “nobody cared” about the upcoming pitching rotation.
“I’ve tried to make light of some situations,” he said. “Again, I don’t understand why, if someone is trying to report what I say, and you don’t understand what I say, you don’t ask what I meant? I don’t get that. … Just ask me the question, because I don’t think everyone in the room is smart enough to figure out what I mean and that’s not my fault.”
Valentine said the season has been “very trying” for him.
“There’s been a lot of obstacles in my way and I think I’ve jumped them and sometimes been knocked down by them. Just doing as good as I can do, all day long,” he said. “I’ll say ‘miserable’ because it’s turned out to be not what’s expected. It’s been a little misery, yeah.”
Can this work out for Valentine and the Red Sox moving forward?
“Trying just means what it has been. It doesn’t mean it’s so tough that you can’t do it,” he said. “What the hell? You have a tough pitcher and it’s trying, it’s difficult. Doesn’t mean you can’t get a hit against him or beat him.”