In a news conference on Thursday at Fenway Park, Bobby Valentine was announced as the 45th manager of the Boston Red Sox.
Bill Littlefield was at the event, which drew about 300 members of the media, as the 61-year-old former Rangers and Mets skipper spoke about his excitement to accept the position.
“I tried to not engage myself in this day, because I didn’t want to be heartbroken,” Valentine says. “I wanted this from the first time I heard the job was opening. And during the process, which was a long process from the beginning of November when we first met, I would wake up at night thinking there was a chance and then say, ‘Don’t go there.'”
Valentine hasn’t managed in the Major Leagues since 2002, and has been working as a baseball analyst for ESPN for the past two years. He knows how to respond to reports — both positive and negative — about his personality.
“I am not the genius that I’ve heard people refer to me as,” he says. “I am not the polarizing guy that people refer to me as. I am not a monster who breathes fire that some people refer to me as. But I’m a guy, I’m a regular human being with regular feelings and regular attributes that make me what I am, and I think some of them, as I’ve been told by people who know me, are okay.”
Red Sox fans have high expectations for Valentine, following the past two years of disappointment and Boston’s record-breaking collapse in September.
“He’s going to be expected to take this team at least back to the playoffs, after their two-year absence,” says the Boston Globe’s veteran Sox chronicler Nick Cafardo. “If he doesn’t, the honeymoon ends right there.”