Red Sox fans will disagree but former manager Bobby Valentine believes he did a good job during his only season in Boston.
“It’s six months of a 62 year life,” Valentine said. “It’s six months in a 42 year career in baseball. It’s a blip, a little spot on the radar as far as I’m concerned and I thought I did a helluva job in Boston. I thought what had to be done there, had to be done except for winning a pennant, but Connie Mack wouldn’t have won with that team.”
Valentine was responsible for managing the worst Red Sox team since 1965 and continuing the franchise’s descent from the highs of winning the 2007 World Series, their second following an 86-year drought.
Nearly six months later, Valentine has a new job after getting introduced on Tuesday as the new athletic director at Sacred Heart University, which currently competes in the Northeast Conference and has 31 teams.
Valentine wasn’t talking controversies such as the one he created with Kevin Youkilis when he said on WHDH-TV's Sports Xtra last April: “I don’t think he’s as physically or emotionally into the game as he has been in the past for some reason.”
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Two months later Youkilis was traded to the White Sox and signed with the Yankees in December.
He also was not talking about some other the controversies such as when he said during the team’s 7-22 freefall in September and October that this was the worst bunch of players he had ever managed.
“I don’t look back,” Valentine said. I don’t do that stuff. Maybe one bike ride and I said ‘Oh, darn’. Maybe, I don’t know. It wasn’t my first rodeo. It wasn’t the first time I was fired and it probably won’t be the last time.
“It wasn’t the biggest challenge of my life; it wasn’t the most exciting challenge of my life. It was just one of those things.”
Valentine will not officially start until July 1. In the meantime he will be working as a baseball analyst on NBC Sports radio while preparing for his new position.
Before hiring Valentine, the Red Sox were coming off an epic 7-20 collapse after the team invested heavily on contracts for outfielder Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez. Boston had the best record in baseball before blowing a nine-game lead, leading to the departure of Terry Francona, who detailed his eight-year reign in a recent book.
Two months after Francona’s tenure, Valentine was hired. GM Ben Cherington interviewed five other candidates and was apprehensive about Valentine, who was the first choice of team president/CEO Larry Lucchino.
Valentine managed the Texas Rangers from 1985-1992 and then the New York Mets from 1996-2002. He was fired by former president George W. Bush in 1992 and again just two years after reaching the World Series with the Mets.
While managing opportunities might not be coming soon for Valentine, he said he will listen if a team does call but not necessarily rush away from the school.
“I’ve had a lot of contracts in my life,” Valentine said. “I had a lifetime contract once in Japan and I found out it was the lifetime of the owner’s dog. I don’t deal with a whole bunch of things that we have to deal with in the future, I deal with today and I’m very excited at what I’m doing today.
“If some team calls, I always answer the phone. That doesn’t mean that I’m going to rush to judgment and run away from a situation that I think is a very good situation.”
The school reached out to Valentine after announcing the retirement of longtime athletic director Don Cook in November. Valentine, who has made numerous speaking and fund-raising appearances for the school, became a candidate a month later.
“I do things that are presented to me so that I can be challenged and I can strive for excellence,” Valentine said. “This is a great challenging position.”