SALEM Bobby Valentine appeared relaxed, comfortable, and animated. He was effusive, engaging, and loquacious. It was a version of Valentine that Red Sox fans rarely got to see this past season. I didn't get a chance to rattle on during the season because they wanted a quieter, calmer version of Bobby Valentine, Valentine said, wrapping up after almost 90 minutes Thursday night as part of Salem State Universitys speakers series. Valentine entertained the crowd of about 800 with stories from his life in baseball, including his one year as the manager of the Red Sox before he was fired on Oct. 4, the day after the season ended with the Sox in last place in the American League East, their record of 69-83 the worst since 1966. Hes confident the last year will lead to better things for him. Something really good is going to happen in my life because of the experience I had this season, he said. People say, Oh, yeah, you had 69 good days. But there were more. Since then, he said hes been doing greatI have a million plans, running around the country, trying to make my life worthwhile. Although he did not get into specifics about what is next for him professionally, Valentine, who has always been very involved in charitable works, is planning to help with the relief efforts in New York and New Jersey in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. In December, he will rappel down the side of the tallest building in his hometown of Stamford, Conn., as a charitable fundraiser. He will be dressed as an elf. Along with himself, Valentine said he thought the 2013 Red Sox team would be better because of all the adversity the 2012 edition faced, as long it can stay healthy. I think the team is going to be better because of all the nonsense this year, Valentine said. That group of guys shouldnt be defined by their record because there were some great efforts. Valentine spoke from a stage inside the OKeefe Sports Center. He was accompanied by Hall of Fame baseball writer Peter Gammons, acting as the interviewer. After about an hour, Valentine took some questions from the audience. Valentine offered no major insights or answers on the disastrous season, saying Im one of those guys I dont look back. I dont do rewind Ive moved on where I wake up in the morning and I think its going to be the best day of my life. Things didnt go the way I wanted, no doubt about it. They didnt go the way you wanted, but every day I gave my best damn effort. Valentine also offered some thinly veiled jabs. About his successor, John Farrell, he said: I dont know him from Adam. Everyone tells me hes a good guy, gets along with the media and the front office. Thats a good start. No doubt a reference to his strained relations with the front office. He also said: I had a back-up catcher, I wont say who, he always wanted to know when he was going to play. Once a week. Be ready to play. That would be Kelly Shoppach, who was traded to the Mets in August for right-hander Pedro Beato. About the communication snafus that happened throughout the season, Valentine said its not always necessary for everyone to know everything, including himself. But, "attitude filters down. Information doesnt always have to. A questioner from the audience began to ask what it was like watching Daniel Bard slowly implode. Valentine quickly interjected, You thought that was slow? The quip drew laughter from the crowd, as did many of his stories. But Valentine also said I think Bard will be alright next year, though. He praised coaches Randy Niemann, and Jerry Royster, for his work with third baseman Will Middlebrooks and shortstop Mike Aviles, and former hitting coach Dave Magadan, whom he said will leave a big void with his departure to Texas. Valentine said he did not support the decision to fire pitching coach Bob McClure. Without singling out anyone in particular, he said, you need coaches who speak your own language. Valentine wrapped up his talk, saying If you really want to be successful, there are three Rs of success: Responsibility, respect, and reality We have to be responsible to each other and our society, we have to respect one another, and we got to deal with reality. Change is not something anyone likes, but it is time to change. With that, he wrapped up his session.
The Red Sox got it done on the mound, in the field, and at the plate on Sunday and that sent them to Minnesota on a good note.