This column is going to come right out and say it, we like the move. Valentine is a long term, old school baseball guy. He gets the game and sees things other don’t. He has experienced almost everything in the game. He got to the big leagues briefly at age 19 in 1969 and then returned two years later. He played in the big leagues for 10 years total, spread out across five teams. He was the No. 1 pick of the Dodgers in 1968, taken ahead of none other than Bill Buckner (nice symmetry there!).
Two things stand out really, above and beyond the clichéd ‘he will bring discipline’ angle being regurgitated incessantly around the major sporting online outlets today.
First off, he brings a tremendous amount of colour and character to the Manager’s office. You can envision Valentine garnering more than his share of headlines, and one thing that will do is deflect attention away from his players. This will be a welcome distraction after a carpet bombing of paparazzi treatment this batch of Red Sox players may never forget (things figure to be pretty icy between certain reports and the players they covered with gleeful Schadenfreude during the great September swoon).
Secondly, we think we all need to ensure everyone knows about this, what is really undoubtedly one of the funniest moments in MLB history
In June 9, 1999 during the 12th inning of a 14 inning marathon with the Toronto Blue Jays, Mike Piazza was called for catcher's interference on Craig Grebeck. Valentine was ejected by home plate umpire Randy Marsh for arguing the call, and, well, then this happened.
Assuming MLB eventually take that video above down, Valentine unbelievably returned to the dugout an inning later in a disguise Ron Burgundy would be proud of. One of the funniest baseball moments ever. Sadly MLB didn’t get the joke and fined Valentine $5,000 and suspended him for three games.