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.
He was back at it Tuesday in an interview with CBS Radio's Damon Amendolara, in which he said the Falcons have the better quarterback heading into Super Bowl LI.
“We know they’re the better offense, and right now, you could say they got the better quarterback because they have the MVP of the league,” Scott said. Ryan is the favorite to win the NFL MVP, which will be announced the night before the Super Bowl at the "NFL Honors" show.
“Now that’s a debate, but Matt Ryan has earned the right for his name to be put up there with the upper-echelon quarterbacks," Scott said. "He’s always been elite in the regular season, but now he’s taken this show into the postseason and he’s won the hard battles against the elite quarterbacks and now you have to give him his due.”
More from Scott: “I can’t see the Patriots stopping this offense. So, that means that these receivers are going to have to [keep] pace. It’s all going to come down to what it always comes down to. It’s going to come down to who makes the turnovers, who gets up early and puts the pressure on the other team. Matt Ryan and that offense showed me a lot when they went behind [in the divisional round against the Seahawks]. Seattle came and busted them in the face, and [Atlanta] went right back down and answered immediately.
"The Patriots always find a way, but I think it makes it more close of a game than what people think.”
Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while rooting for “Manchester By the Sea” to upset some favorites at the Oscars.
*Sidney Crosby and Auston Matthews top the annual NHL coaches' poll produced by TSN Insider Bob McKenzie.
*The oral history of Fox’s glowing puck used for the NHL during their run with the league is an entertaining one.
*Mike Babcock gives pep talks to the reporters along with his own players while running the show in Toronto.
*The Vegas Golden Knights are moving forward with their timetable toward hiring a coach with some good candidates out there now, and some other ones potentially available soon. I’ve wondered if Claude Julien would be interested in that spot if he’s let go by the Bruins this season, but the one sure thing is that he wouldn’t be out of work long if he is relieved of his duties.
*Claude Giroux needs to start playing a little more fearlessly and without dwelling on mistakes, according to his general manager.
*Detroit Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill doesn’t believe that fancy stats and analytics have had a major impact on the way the Wings do things.
*PHT writer James O’Brien has the rundown on a Millenial’s dream of performers at the 2017 NHL All-Star Game: Nick Jonas, Fifth Harmony and Carly Rae Jepsen.
*For something completely different: keeping an eye on the notion that Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg is going to run for President.