Bobby Valentine, the embattled Boston Red Sox manager, has had to reiterate he was joking when he told hosts of a radio show that he would punch them for asking whether he had "checked out" for the season.
Although if you listen to the volatile interview, you could sense the threat wasn't said in jest. Since Valentine is probably out as manager after a less-than-spectacular first season with the club, one that he actually called "lousy," he's gone into damage-control mode.
The incident with WEEI hosts Glenn Ordway and Michael Holley began Tuesday when Ordway asked the manager whether he had checked out because he showed up late to the game in Seattle. Valentine explained to Ordway and Holley that he was at the airport picking up a son whose flight had been delayed and that he got stuck in traffic on the way to the park. Valentine said he told his coaches he'd be at Safeco Field as soon as possible and gave them the lineup before any players showed up at the park.
"What an embarrassing thing to say," Valentine responded when hearing the "checked out" line. "If I were there right now, I'd punch you right in the mouth. Ha, ha. How's that sound? Sound like I checked out? What an embarrassing thing. Why would somebody even, that's stuff that a comic strip person would write. If someone's here, watching me go out at 2 o'clock in the afternoon, working with the young players, watching me put in the right relief pitchers to get a win, putting on a hit-and-run when it was necessary, talking to the guys after the game in the food room — how could someone in real life say that?”