Thursday, February 14, 2008


Would it really be fair if I didn't interrupt the baseball preview on Valentine's Day to pay tribute to the last manager of the Mets to lead the team to a World Series appearance?

Bobby Valentine is in Japan these days, managing the Chiba Lotte Marines. I'm sure his name will be popping up in the next month or so as Major League Baseball extends eastward to open up its season.

I've never really had the chance to comment on Valentine, since the blog came into existence during the Art Howe debacle years.

Most people are either gung-ho in love with Valentine, or way in the other direction, flat-out hating him. I never loved him, but I never hated him...and you can't argue with the success the Mets had while he was manager.

I was mostly amused by Bobby Valentine's antics, the most entertaining of which was the "sneak-back-in-the-dugout-wearing-a-lame-disguise-after-being-thrown-out-of-the-game". That was funny. No one does that. He did. I loved it. Only rarely did I feel his antics got in the way of the game. He was also spirited - he cared, and it showed. You didn't get that same emotion out of his successor.

The one thing I'll fault Valentine for is the fact that some of the Mets mentioned in the Mitchell Report are closely connected with him - especially Matt Franco (who has denied the allegations), who followed Valentine to Japan. I feel like he's the type of guy (Valentine is) that would let players get away with stuff like this right under his nose if it would help them win. I get the impression he'd be one of the people sticking up for Roger Clemens wholeheartedly right now.

Anyway, Valentine is on a list that includes just three other men - Gil Hodges, Yogi Berra, and Davey Johnson - men who took the Mets to the World Series. Until another man takes the Mets one step further (looking your way, Willie Randolph), he'll be the one I look back fondly on for now. So Happy Valentine's Day.

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