This is NOT a post about baseball.
This is NOT a post about the Boston Red Sox.
This is a post about Bobby Valentine,
the recently FIRED coach of the Boston Red Sox.
I am NOT a big Red Sox fan.
I am NOT a big baseball fan.
What I am is, NOT a Bobby Valentine fan.
It has NOTHING to do with his career as a baseball player, assistant coach, or his tumultuous first year as the Red Sox coach. It has nothing to do with his bravado, his inability to earn the respect of his players and assistant coaches, his lack of critical thinking skills, or his inability to multitask (cycle and text). This is STRICTLY personal.
photo courtesy of Getty
Back in the early 80's, I was hired by "Bobby V" to work at his sports bar in Stamford, Connecticut. I was, as I remember it, the first east coast female bartender. I didn't just tend bar, I made it an art form. Mind you, this was way before the movie Cocktail. This was before it was acceptable or fashionable for a women to work behind the bar. Hell, women were barely allowed to stand at a bar, unattended by a man. That's how old I am.
As a bartender, I was fast. I was funny. I was strong. I was accurate. I could hold my own against obnoxious drunks.
My style was flamboyant. I exaggerated the grace of the pour. I didn't turn to get a bottle, I twirled towards it. I did a Charo, shoulder shimmy, shimmy, martini shake. I didn't do a lot of glass and bottle tossing (ask any bartender, the last thing you want is broken glass in an ice bin) but I did whip my hair back and forth A LOT. My performance was well received and applause was not uncommon. I did all this with small, unpadded breasts, and without being provocatively dressed.
Bobby sat at the far back corner of the bar for most of my shift. I could feel him watching me. Not in a creepy way, it was more like he was scouting for talent and I knew my skills stood out. I wasn't cocky, but I was confident.
I didn't have the luxury of a bar-back, so I lugged the cases of beer by myself. I lifted 35 (?) gallon tubs of ice to fill the bins. Once, my pristine white tretorn sneakers caught the tip of an uneven rubber floor mat and down I went. Quickly I rolled to my right side, grabbed the closest thing I could find - a freshly laundered stack of bar rags - and jumped back onto my feet. It was the only time I saw Bobby smile.
At the end of my shift he called me into his office.
"You were okay kid," he said, "but your shorts need to be shorter."
It's funny. I remember exactly what I wore that day, even the way I styled my hair. I remember the hush of the crowd when I fell. I remember snacking on onion rings, getting lime juice in my eye, as I quartered them. But I don't remember what was said after ..."your shorts need to be shorter."
Was I fired?
Did I quit?
All I know for certain is that this was my first and last day working for Bobby Valentine.
Due to my limited knowledge of his professional baseball career, I cannot, in all fairness, comment on his ability to lead his team. But what I can say is that as a boss, off the field, what Bobby lacked was depth, class and respect. And that is something I will never forget.
"He who wants a rose must respect the thorn." Persian Proverb
photo courtesy of Getty