With the Associated Press reporting that Bobby Valentine has agreed to terms on a contract with the Red Sox and a press conference planned for Thursday to offically announce him as the 45th Boston manager, it feels like a good time to refresh everyone's memories about the former Mets manager.
He hasn't been out of the spotlight, thanks to his job on ESPN and the fact that his name seemed to come up every time a job opened up around the major leagues. A lot is being said about him though and some of it isn't quite true so it seemed like a good idea to go through some of those things before Bobby V is officially back on the job.
FACT: He's different than Terry Francona.
The Red Sox were obviously looking for a different type of presence in the dugout if they went with Valentine, a man who favors the spotlight much more than the ousted Sox manager did during his time with the team. He's going to do what he wants, even if it means clashes with the front office and that didn't happen under Francona.
FICTION: He's going to lay down the law in the clubhouse.
Remember the 1999 clubhouse poker game during the NLCS or the 2002 pot scandal around the Mets? Valentine won't be as buddy-buddy with his players as Francona, but he's hardly a draconian ruler.
FACT: Valentine will feud with players publicly
There's been talk about Valentine perhaps being more mature after nine years out of the dugout, a fairly interesting thought given that he was 52 when he left the Mets. Valentine's way isn't going to change when it comes to calling out players publicly, something the Red Sox didn't experience with Francona at the helm.
FICTION: Valentine won't get along with the front office
Valentine didn't get along with former Mets G.M. Steve Phillips because he didn't respect his baseball acumen, but Valentine had no problems in Texas in that regard. He's a forward thinking guy who shouldn't have any problem working with Ben Cherington and the rest of the Sox braintrust.
FACT: It will be all about Bobby Valentine.
The fake glasses and mustache. Inventing the wrap sandwich. Stories about Tommy Lasorda. Calling an announcer he just berated back into the office to pitch an idea for a movie script. That's just scraping the surface of a man who isn't afraid to put himself front and center.
FICTION: Valentine's a winner
This one's a bit dicey because he did take the 2000 Mets to the World Series, but the fact remains that he never won a division in 15 years as a manager. He never had a team with as much talent as he'll have with the Red Sox, so that could change fairly quickly.
FACT: The Red Sox-Yankees rivalry will be more interesting
Things have been rather sedate in recent years as both Francona and Joe Girardi acted like they were above the seething rage that some fans feel about their rivals, turning what were once blood matches into merely overlong games. Valentine will take his shots at the Yankees and that could ratchet things back up a great deal.
FICTION: Valentine will decide if the Red Sox win or lose
That's going to come down to what pitchers Cherington brings in to bolster the Red Sox rotation and, to a lesser extent, the pitchers that Brian Cashman brings to the Bronx. Valentine will be a good show and he'll be a lightning rod, but, as always, it is going to come down to the players on the field.