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Soup of This Day #107: But If You Want To Sleep The Whole Day Through I Will Be Right There Beside You

December 1, 2011

West African Giraffe
A West African Giraffe hiding in an Acacia near Koure, Niger. The West African Giraffe is endangered – Photo: Roland H, 2006. Roland H is not affiliated with Longworth72. Image cropped by Longworth72.

A few years back now my then girlfriend moved to Carnarvon, 900km to the north of Perth, having been posted there as a 1st year teacher. I didn’t go with her – I had a steady job in the big smoke and we just weren’t sure where our relationship was headed. I didn’t know it then but I had the easier end of the deal – At least I was still in my hometown, surrounded by a city that I loved, with it’s comfortable spaces and familiar sensations.

Against this, the love of my life had landed in a frontier town with no friends or family close to hand and an allocated house that appeared to be in the not-so-good-part of town. All-in-all she was far from home and in need of some support.

Early on her Mum spent some time with her but then it was my turn, my plane ticket funded by her Dad (For which I’ll always be grateful). Since it was close to Valentine’s Day I figured I could make it all ok by taking up some gifts, possibly some flowers or maybe a giant stuffed bear.

Or even a rugby jumper.

Yeah I got her a Wallabies rugby jumper for Valentine’s Day.

It’s Australia – We like rugby.

And my intentions were good – I wanted her to feel warm and loved. Of course it was February in Australia, which is a little warm already with temperatures regularly breaching 40°c, so the warmth I was imparting was kind of metaphorical.

I tell this story because it’s my primary Valentine-meets-sport story. Actually it’s pretty much my only 1.

Until now.

Because now it seems the Red Sox have gone with Bobby Valentine for the vacant Tito gig. To be sure, it was a torturous journey and questions will be asked and will likely be unanswered regarding the apparent divide between who new GM Ben Cherington wanted for the role (Sveum) and who the Sox ownership group, primarily Larry Lucchino, wanted (Valentine). That kind of public disconnect doesn’t bode well, either for Ben or for the Red Sox.

That said let me declare now that I’m aiming to be positive about this move. Sure, I didn’t think he was the right choice.

I may even have suggested that Fred Lake, who passed on just over 80 years ago, might be a better choice.

Excitable is Bobby and I just reckon we don’t need his brand of energy right now. September was exciting for the Red Sox and look how that played out.

No, I was kind of hoping for a nice calm smoothness, a little bit of we’ll-make-the-play-offs-if we play-well-so let’s-work-on-that attitude. That doesn’t seem to be Bobby V – He comes across as more of the we’ll-make-the-playoffs-and-everyone-gets-a-brand-new-giraffe-wearing-4-clown-shoes kind of dude.

I have no doubt he can guide us to the playoffs with the talent available on the roster. I also have little doubt he’d try to get everyone giraffes in clown shoes.

He seems a little bat@#$% crazy.

My current favourite Bobby V quote is 1 from a recent press conference after he had interviewed for the Red Sox position. He was asked about what he’d taken from previous managerial stints and how they had changed him. I guess the frame of reference around this was interest in how Bobby V. 2011 is different from Bobby V. 2002 when he had an… cough… interesting departure from the Mets. Bobby’s response was:

‘The last time I managed was a couple of years ago in Japan and, ahh, I’ll change from then in that I’ll only speak English more than likely.’

Yeah, under Tito in 2004 the Sox had their ‘Why Not Us?’ t-shirts. Under Bobby Valentine the guys might be out buying ‘WTF????’ t-shirts.

In spite of all of this I’m still throwing my support behind Bobby. He is the chosen Manager of the Boston Red Sox, a position that is due respect, not the least for the dignity and achievements of Terry Francona. I’m pretty sure there were doubts around Tito when he signed on and look at how that whole 2004 thing turned out.

Stepping forward a year from the rugby jumper in my Valentine’s Day memoirs and by now I’d realised that I couldn’t live 900km from my future wife. The phone bills alone were killing us.

So I was nominally living in Carnarvon, but for Valentine’s Day 2005 had returned to Perth to work for a couple for months on a contract. Missing my babe I called a Carnarvon florist about some flowers for her birthday. I called the day before Valentine’s Day. I remember distinctly telling the florist:

‘This is not a Valentine’s Day thing. It’s her birthday in a bit and I need the flowers sent for that. Not Valentine’s Day. I’m just calling the day before Valentine’s Day so that you have plenty of notice.’

I was clear about this because we’d discussed this as a couple and we were past Valentine’s Day. It was a day for greeting card companies who preyed upon young lovers, caught in the misty-eyed valley of teenage puppy love. Or something like that.

So no flowers babe. We’re not doing that.

Except they delivered the flowers on Valentine’s Day anyway. I blame myself. Asking a florist the day before Valentine’s Day to not deliver a bunch of flowers that say ‘I love you’ on Valentine’s Day is a touch ironic. A little too ironic in hindsight. Florists probably don’t do irony in a bouquet.

Real flowers made to look like plastic. Ironic, yes. Profitable, yeah not so much.

But here’s the thing.

She loved the flowers. Loved that they were delivered at work. Loved me. They were the best bunch of flowers that I misdirected in my life. Yeah, I then had to add a whole other dimension to her birthday present but I don’t care. Somehow, in spite of my misguided and slightly loopy approach it all worked out.

This is my hope for Bobby Valentine. His approach will probably seem misguided and loopy but maybe it will all just work out in the end. Maybe those ‘Why Not Us?’ t-shirts will get an outing again.

But If You Want To Sleep The Whole Day Through I Will Be Right There Beside You

  1. Admittedly, I have been leaving “nasty-grams” all over comment sections on the WWW blasting the decision of the Boston Red Sox to hire Bobby V as their manager. I get chills each time I type that, you know. He is completely insane to the best of my knowledge. I fail to see why you would send a class clown into a circus if the goal is to make said circus into a serious, stout organization. They’ve managed to put even more “heat” on themselves by hiring someone who has not been in MLB for almost a decade…only got two wild card berths at that in all his time…and has spent recent years slumming in Japan and embarassing himself on national television. Obviously, as I have adopted the Red Sox as my “AL Team” this turn of events has left me dazed and confused…as I often have seen Bobby on TV the last couple of years. I hope for Boston faithful this works out. I just feel compelled to vent on the choice. Bobby V..not for me. I do love giraffes but admittedly don’t own any.

    • Yeah, I understand. He sets off alarm bells (and whistles, klaxons, foghorns and giant neon signs) for me too – And yeah, I can’t actually sit through a Bobby V. monologue. Just can’t – I’m gonna give him a shot though, at least partly in hope that the pain of 2011 can have a line drawn through it. Almost of more concern is how we got to this point – Is Ben Cherington a lame duck? Is Larry Lucchino going to be choosing the roster now? The contrast between Atlanta and us about how we handled September catastrophies is marked. We’ve taken our on field implosion and just fed it until it’s consumed the club. If you’d told me on September 1 that Bobby V was going to be the Red Sox Manager in December I’d have laughed long and hard. But now he is and like most Sox fans I’m just dazed by it all.

      As always nice to hear your thoughts.

      Hey since the Phillies took Papelbon this year would you consider a new Manager next year? No wait, I can’t do that to you – Forget I asked.

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