(he’s not taking requests)
Over the two two-hour shows, Valentine ripped into John Franco for being selfish, J. D. Drew for not playing hurt and Curt Schilling for not starting the 2001 All-Star Game. Valentine said Randy Johnson would still wind up with the Yankees by spring training, campaigned for the Mets to sign Carlos Beltran and compared steroids to Viagra.
He greeted many callers with “yo,” referred to most as “bro” and once excused himself for a break to go to the “little boys’ room.” He often spoke in rhymes, forced segues out of every segment and talked freely about “the wounds” he will always carry from his tenure with the Mets.
“I love spontaneity, and this is the essence of spontaneity,” Valentine said after he walked out of the studio after the show yesterday. “You have to be quick on your feet. I just try to share my experience the best I can.”
Yesterday alone, Valentine nicknamed Yankees pitcher Carl Pavano the New Italian Stallion, said that players in New York deserved more money than their peers, and questioned Baltimore Manager Lee Mazzilli about Carlos Delgado in an interview.
He blamed ill-prepared managers and pitching coaches for long games, blamed complacent veterans with long-term contracts for his firing from the Mets, and blamed “the Dodgers’ young general manager,” Paul DePodesta, and his “cold feet” for the collapse of the Johnson trade. Valentine said he could not understand why anyone would be reluctant to trade a player like Shawn Green.
Coming from most radio hosts, such controversial ideas would be commonplace. But for a former major-league manager, it was radical stuff.
At one point, Valentine off-handedly mentioned that Johnson and Schilling despise each other and then illustrated his claim with one of his signature stories.
Valentine recalled the 2001 All-Star Game as “one of the most disappointing days of my life” because Schilling backed out of his scheduled start. Reflecting on why Schilling made such a move, Valentine said: “He didn’t have any intention of pitching the All-Star Game. He just wanted to make sure it wasn’t Randy Johnson who was picked.” At the time, Schilling and Johnson were pitching for the Arizona Diamondbacks, and later that year, they won the World Series.
When Valentine left the studio yesterday, he was asked about the All-Star anecdote and immediately elaborated. He said that Johnson initially declined to start the game because he did not want to be considered Schilling’s replacement, then relented.
Valentine sounded pointed, candid and completely incapable of pressing any internal delay button. All of the qualities that got him in trouble with the Mets could someday score him some huge ratings.
In other Mets alumni news, former outfielder Mookie Wilson was named manager of the Class A NY-Penn League Brooklyn Cyclones. The Mets have also signed Andres Galarraga to a minor league contract. The Big Cat, sitting on 399 career home runs, while sometimes described as ageless, is in fact, 43 years old.