The other day, there were some rumblings about the possibility of former Mets manager Bobby Valentine interviewing for the opening in Milwaukee.
Tom Haudricourt posted the transcript of an interview Valentine did on Sirius radio, during which Chris “Mad Dog” Russo asked if he had any conversations with the Brewers. Valentine said he had “conversations,” but had not had a formal interview.
Valentine has been a name that I’ve heard plenty of fans bring up for years now. It’s easy to see why fans love him — he screams at umpires, he kicks dirt, and he gives entertaining sound bites. I understand the appeal. He’s Ned Yost without having the misfortune of actually being Ned Yost.
I wouldn’t even really mind if Valentine did get the job. He’s been out of American baseball long enough that maybe he wouldn’t do things by the book (or at least not as often as other managers). He’d get the Brewers into the national spotlight a bit more. Who knows, maybe he’d even help the Brewers in recruiting Japanese players.
But there’s one thing that really worries me about Valentine — he seems more interested in the idea of managing again, rather than actually taking on the responsibility of the job. Everything he’s said and done in the past couple years seems to point towards that.
In the Sirius interview, there was this exchange:
Russo: “Do you have it in your gut, does Bobby V. have the passion in his soul to go out there and manage another big league ball club before you retire, yes or no?”
Valentine: “Um, it’s probably there but it’s not this burning desire. It needs to be, you know, cultivated. It needs to come out to, you know, meet the right people that kind of bring it out to say, ‘Hey, listen, this is the group that we gotta go to battle with.’”
That doesn’t sound like a guy who’s especially interested in managing. I don’t have many demands when it comes to characteristics I’d like to see in the new manager, but I would at least hope the guy doesn’t have to “cultivate” interest in his own team.
This really isn’t anything new. When he was interviewing with the Indians last season, he admitted he didn’t bother to learn anything about the American League or the organization before he went in for an interview:
“I don’t know as much about Cleveland as someone interviewing for their manager’s job should,” Valentine said. “I could have crammed for the last six days and read every article and called every friend and got every little bit of information, just in case one of you guys asked me who the starting third baseman should be next year and I didn’t do it.”
Would he be more motivated interviewing for a National League job? Maybe. But he’s a guy making good money to talk a lot of baseball (without actually thinking about it) at ESPN, so what’s his motivation to leave? He can pick and choose his job opportunities at this point, and I’m not so sure Milwaukee is an opportunity he would really want. The Brewers should stick to guys who are actually interested.