By David Brown
The Florida Marlins reportedly are bringing Bobby Valentine back to major league dugouts.
That is you, Bobby, right?
In his previous major league stint, with the New York Mets, Valentine proved how much he loved being a manager by donning a disguise — a fake mustache and sunglasses — so he could lurk in the dugout after an umpire had kicked him out of a game.
No matter the man’s ability to prepare, his handling of personalities, pitchers or his in-game tactics, Valentine always will be endearing for attempting such an amusing act of civil disobedience. (Or contempt, whichever you prefer.)
And now, as Sports Ilustrated’s Jon Heyman reported Friday morning, Valentine apparently is taking his act — which hopefully includes more costumes — to South Florida.
Heyman says Valentine “starts Monday,” when the Fish begin a series at Puerto Rico. ESPN’s Tim Kurkjian reports the Marlins will offer Valentine a four-year contract.
However, the Marlins, claiming they’re still interviewing candidates, have not confirmed this.
Further, Valentine reportedly told Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post that Heyman’s report is “absolutely not true.” (Yet, anyway.)
Perhaps the esteemed Heyman’s source is a man disguised as Bobby V.!
The Fish have a 35-37 record and are sitting 6 1/2 games out of first place in the NL East. Owner Jeffrey Loria, who fired Fredi Gonzalez earlier this week, seems to think the Marlins can compete for a playoff spot.
So there’s little time to waste, right? If Valentine is to make a difference, get to it, Bobby.
But the timing is unfortunate. The Marlins’ interim skipper, Edwin Rodriguez, is the first Puerto Rican to manage (and win) a major league game. The Fish begin a series against the Mets (of course it’s the Mets) in Puerto Rico on Monday and Rodriguez (right) was to manage those games in San Juan.
So that’s delicate.
Loria also committed to giving Rodriguez and Bo Porter, another candidate for the job, their due consideration. If Valentine really accepted already, Rodriguez and Porter would be seen as tokens used to satisfy minority interviewing requirements. It’s not the first time.
And what of Rodriguez? Would he go back to Class AAA as a manager? Does Valentine want him on his staff? What does Billy Marlin think?
Loria probably wants to put Valentine to work Friday, most certainly by Monday. But can he?
Valentine had been working for ESPN TV as an analyst; from 2004-2009, he managed in Japan for the Chiba Lotte Marines, winning a Japan Series title in 2005.