Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Thick as a Brick

After the Boston Red Sox defeated the St. Louis Cardinals to win the 2013 World Series, making it a total of three World Series championships in ten years (2003, 2007, and 2013) I couldn’t help but think about Bobby Valentine, the Red Sox manager for the nightmarish 2012 season.
My memories of Bobby Valentine have former manager of the Dodgers, Tom Lasorda, bragging about the young infielder. In fact, Valentine was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 1st round (overall 5th pick) of the 1968 amateur draft. Coincidentally, it was Ted Sizemore, another infielder in the Dodger system, who captured the 1969 Rookie of the Year award.
(Since the inclusion of African-Americans into the game of baseball the Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers have been a factory of players who won the Rookie of the Year award. In 1947, Jackie Robinson won it, 1949- Don Newcombe, 1952- Joe Black, and 1953- Jim Gilliam. From the years 1947-1953 all of the Rookies of the Year were African-American with the exception of Alvin Dark in 1948.
Once again in the early 1980s the Dodgers had a hold on the Rookie of the Year award with Rick Sutcliffe winning in 1979, Steve Howe in 1980, Fernando Valenzuela in 1981 and Steve Sax winning in 1982. It was either a Dodger or an Oakland Athletic that captured the Rookie of the Year honors. You can look it up!)
Then I recall Bobby V going to Japan to manage and for all accounts had an experience that elevated his stature as a manager. The charismatic former infielder and Texas Ranger manager must have looked good to the Red Sox brass as they extended their laurel and hearty welcome.
Did I mention that Bobby V is Ralph Branca’s son-in-law? Ralph Branca served up Bobby Thomson’s “Shot Heard Round the World.” How thick of a skin do you think this guy has? But to be sure, both Bobby V and Ralph Branca are thick as a brick to think Valentine was improperly ousted by the Boston Red Sox.
I don’t know how ‘Bobby V got screwed’ when it seems like he called out people he could have kept behind closed doors and he made visible things you just don’t do if you are in position of authority, which a manager is for a baseball team. Discretion was not a glimmer of Bobby V’s method in handling a ball club that had talent with an assortment of attitudes that needed attention.
Valentine’s smug mannerisms throughout the 2010 season certainly rubbed me the wrong way I can only imagine how Sox fans felt. I had a hard time believing this guy, Bobby V, was being sincere. I saw a man filled with disdain who was frequently pointing the finger of blame.

Fitting Jethro Tull lyrics to "Thick as a Brick,"
in regards to Bobby V and his father-in-law.

Your bread and water’s going cold.
Your hair is too short and neat.
Ill judge you all and make damn sure that no-one judges me.

You curl your toes in fun as you smile at everyone -- you meet the stares.
You’re unaware that your doings aren't done.
And you laugh most ruthlessly as you tell us what not to be.
But how are we supposed to see where we should run?
I see you shuffle in the courtroom with
your rings upon your fingers and
your downy little sidies and
your silver-buckle shoes.
Playing at the hard case, you follow the example of the comic-paper idol
who lets you bend the rules.

Take the child from him
Put it to the test
Teach it
to be a wise man
How to fool the rest.

Of course
so you ride yourselves over the fields and
you make all your animal deals and
your wise men don't know how it feels to be thick as a brick.

Kevin J. Marquez