In his new book, Papi: My Story, David Ortiz doesn’t hold back. In fact, he took several shots at Bobby Valentine, who managed the Red Rox in 2012, saying that the team, which finished 69-93, disliked Bobby V almost immediately. Ortiz portrays Valentine as a self-absorbed know-it-all, which let to a team mutiny a couple of games into the season.
“Well, I wish he told me three weeks into the season instead of hugging me all the time when he saw me,” Valentine said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney, laughing. “Yeah, that was a weird situation. I don’t know how it could have been about me in spring training, but I’ve heard a lot of those general comments. But whatever. I hope he sells a lot of books. I hope I help him sell some.”
Valentine, 66, played 10 seasons in the majors, managed for 16, and led the Mets to a World Series appearance in 2000. When he was hired in Boston, he said he wasn’t necessarily given any directives from Red Sox brass; just teach the game, do as well as you can, and try to make the playoffs. So that’s what Valentine did.
Only he apparently hurt Mike Aviles’ feelings during a routine defensive drill.
“There are rules in baseball that maybe I didn’t explain properly when I was there,” Valentine said. “In baseball – not in Bobby Valentine’s baseball, (but) in all of baseball – the person who runs in for the ball calls for it. The person who runs out for the ball says nothing so that you’re not saying something at the same time. So when the outfielder is running in and the infielder is running out, the outfielder calls the ball and the infielder does not say, I got it.’ We had a situation where Mike Aviles continued to call ‘I got it’ when he would go out. After doing it about the third time, I asked him what his problem was. Was it hearing or learning?”
Aviles wasn’t amused. Neither was Ortiz, who said he would have punched Valentine if he spoke to him in that fashion.
“I said it with a loud voice, don’t get me wrong, and I might have even used an expletive or two to get my point across,” Valentine said. “But afterwards, three or four guys came in and said how Mike was in his locker, his head was down and he felt so bad and I had to apologize because I hurt his feelings and I embarrassed him. I thought that was rather interesting. Let me just put it that way.”
Eventually, Valentine apologized.
“I absolutely apologized,” Valentine said, “but I didn’t totally get it. Maybe (Ortiz) was upset that I was yelling at a player who wanted to do things his way.”
Valentine was fired after one season in Boston and took “hardly anything” from the experience.
“It was six months of my life,” he said. “It was 162 of 4,000 games that I was involved in. It wasn’t a lot of my life, and it was pretty good for about 105 games, and then it all went to hell. I guess it wasn’t good at all because David said it wasn’t good after two days. But it was real tough duty, there was no kind of systems that were necessarily in place. I felt like I was a little on an island, but I tried to do my best. That’s all I ever do, whatever I do, and it obviously wasn’t good enough.”
As for Ortiz, Valentine has no hard feelings – regardless of what is in the book.
“I always liked him,” Valentine said. “I thought it was a wonderful relationship with me and him.”