BOSTON The Red Sox interviewed their sixth managerial candidate Monday. The question, though, is: Will he be the final candidate?
Bobby Valentine met with general manager Ben Cherington in what was called a formal interview setting. Valentine initially discussed the open manager's job with presidentCEO Larry Lucchino and Cherington earlier this month. Lucchino and Valentine were on the panel in Hartford at a forum on international baseball Nov. 3.
Larry left Ben and I together for a good part of that time, Valentine said. We did the discussion and basically Larry said, Hey, Ben thinks we could move forward with you. We might continue the process. Thats when I started thinking of it.
Valentine is the most recognizable candidate and the candidate with the most experience.He managed for eight seasons with the Rangers and seven with the Mets, compiling a record of 1117-1072. He also managed in Japan, and won the 2005 Japan Series with the Chiba Lotte Marines. He is currently an analyst for ESPN.
But Valentine is not without a share of controversy, including run-ins with former GMs and players, and a collapse with the 2002 Mets. He was fired at the end of that season.
Hes had really good experiences, Cherington said. Hes been to the top, and hes had other experiences that havent gone as well. But no one whos managed in the big leagues -- or very few, I cant think of anyone -- has had all good experiences. Thats not how the game works. Former manager Terry Francona hadnt had all good experiences before he got to Boston. He worked out really well.
Asked what hes learned since his last major-league managerial stint, Valentine replied:
I wish I had a good answer for that. One thing, you can't teach experience. If all your experiences could be good, wed live in thisfairylandthatFenway Parkis built around. You can't. Ive had bad experiences that I hope Ive learned from. Ive had good experiences that I hope I learned from. Some of those bad experiences I think I caused. Some of them were caused by the surroundings. Some of the good experiences, I had something to do with them and some of them I was just happy to go along for the ride. I hope like hell Ive learned from whatever experiences I had.
I hope I'll change for the better because I never won a world championship when I was inNew York.
Valentine said he could not consider managing without a balance of scouting and computer analysis.
We know we need to have people who see people and we also need to have people who can understand what those people actually do, he said. I was an advanced scout. I worked with scouts, with minor-league organizations . . . I was weaned on the concept of statistical analysis as a manager. I think they're both very important.
During the interview process he was asked to watch game video, offer analysis and determine what his in-game decisions might be.Valentine, 61, is a native of Stamford, Conn., where he still resides and is the citys director of public safety. He is currently in the process of hiring a fire chief for the city. Valentine joked that he would like to use a similar format in his interviews for the city.
Valentine, like most observers, is aware of the reports of unseemly behavior by Red Sox players in the clubhouse during the season.
Discipline is not 30 whacks with a whip these days, but I think everyone likes discipline, he said. I think everyone likes structure and everyone again likes to be acknowledged when they do things properly. When they dont do things properly . . . most people, and athletes in particular, like to be noticed that theyre not doing things right. So when you talk about discipline and rules and all that, its just about right and wrong.Its just about an expectation of a person whos representing a great organization like the Boston Red Sox, a passionate committed team like they have in the front office and in ownership, expecting them to know the difference between right and wrong, on the field and off the field and when they're talking to you and when they're living their life. Thats the discipline thing I try to bring to a team.
Valentine said he talked with a couple of his mentors, including Hall of Famer Tommy Lasorda and Lou Lamoriello, presidentGM of the New Jersey Devils who is also in the hockey Hall of Fame and Cape Cod League hall of fame. Lamoriello coached Valentine in the Cape League.
Theyd disown me if I didn't give it my best shot, Valentine said of his interview with the Sox. I sweat the whole day. I havent been as nervous for anything in a long, long time. It was invigorating, challenging and stimulating -- all those good things.
Cherington said while he had hoped to have a decision by Thanksgiving, that isn't likely. Cherington said he is now hoping to make a decision next week, before the winter meetings, which begin Dec. 5 in Dallas.
That hasnt happened, he said. But more important we need to get it right and take the time necessary. You never want to rush it.