BOSTON (AP) — Bobby Valentine took over as manager of the Boston Red Sox on Thursday, promising to be hard-working, open-minded and even humble as he tries to help the franchise return to the playoffs and forget after the disappointment of this season's unprecedented September collapse.
"It's more than a special day. It's the beginning of a life that's going to extend beyond anything I thought I'd be doing," Valentine said. "The talent level of the players we have in this organization is a gift to anyone, and I think I'm a receiver of this gift.
"I think we're going to do this, man," he said, shaking hands with general manager Ben Cherington, "And I really and truly appreciate this opportunity."
The 61-year-old former Rangers and Mets skipper was introduced during a news conference in a Fenway Park luxury club attended by owner John Henry and his wife, by Red Sox CEO Larry Lucchino, by dozens of team employees, and by about 100 members of the media, many of them from New York outlets that covered Valentine in his days with the Mets.
Valentine, who guided the Chiba Lotte Marines to the 2005 championship, greeted one reporter in Japanese.
"There is a buzz," Lucchino said, acknowledging that Valentine's personality and his history in New York could enhance an already intense AL East rivalry with the Yankees. "I think it does add a little bit of kerosene to the fire."
Valentine takes over a team that blew a nine-game lead in the AL wild-card race to miss the playoffs for the second straight season.