Forget '11 (or so Red Sox hope): Bobby Valentine is coming

By Jimmy Golen

Associated Press

Published: Wednesday, Nov. 30 2011 12:00 a.m. MST

And he might even be most famous for returning to the dugout wearing a fake mustache and sunglasses after being ejected from a game in 1999; Major League Baseball fined him $5,000 and suspended him for three games.

Valentine's personality certainly is large.

And his resume is long.

But it has one major gap: He's never won a World Series.

"It drives all of us that do this for a living," Minaya said. "If you don't win a World Series and you're a competitor, it drives you."

Valentine managed the Texas Rangers from 1985-92, when he was fired by then-owner and future U.S. President George W. Bush. His last big league managerial job was with the Mets, from 1996-02, where he guided the Mets to consecutive wild-card berths and a trip to the 2000 World Series.

Two years later, they finished last and Valentine was fired, leaving him with a 1,117-1,072 record. He has never finished in first place in 15 major league seasons.

But Valentine went to Japan and managed Chiba Lotte to a championship in 2005. He has been working as an analyst for ESPN, where he has said Red Sox pitcher Josh Beckett should work faster and left fielder Carl Crawford should close his stance.

"These last two years have been good for Bobby. It gave him a chance to get back and become familiar with all the players in the major leagues. That will help him," Branca said. "Boston is a challenge, but when has he not liked challenges?"

A native of Connecticut and a former roommate of Bill Buckner's, Valentine was the most intriguing candidate for the Red Sox job on a list that included Gene Lamont, Dale Sveum, Torey Lovullo, Pete Mackanin and Sandy Alomar Jr. After his name surfaced, he was endorsed for the job not only by Lasorda but by Steve Phillips, the Mets GM who bickered with Valentine and eventually fired him; Bush has also expressed a fondness for his former skipper.

Minaya said Valentine's outsized personality will be a plus in Boston, where fans still are stewing over last year's collapse.

"All year they're going to be reminded of what happened in '11, and Bobby will be able to take the attention on himself," said Minaya, whose Mets missed the playoffs on the last day of the season after leading the division in both 2007 and '08. "We lived it. There's no doubt that all year long the Red Sox are going to be reminded of last year. I think Bobby's going to be a positive force in getting people to focus on '12."

The Red Sox certainly hope so.

At about the same time Valentine was landing in New York on his way back from a goodwill trip to Japan, the Red Sox sent reporters an advisory that select tickets for 2012 will go on sale next week.

AP Baseball Writer Ben Walker contributed to this report.

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