It happened 2½ months ago [June 17]. ... [Will Middlebrooks] came into the dugout, he made a couple of errors, and I said, "Nice inning, kid." I had thought I had established a relationship with him where I could say something like that to him, kind of smile, relax him a little. Maybe he grimaced, I don’t know. Somebody overheard it and decided that it was a very dreadful thing for a manager to ever say to a young player ... That person didn't go to the locker room when I went to Will after the game and explained to him that I made three errors in a game when I was 21 years old and fans booed me off the field. And how I got through it and other people got through it and it's a great learning experience. I don't think Will has been mortally wounded by that 2½-month-old comment.At the time, Middlebrooks said he had no recollection of the incident.
With good reason (maybe). Valentine told Bob Costas in an interview that aired last night that the incident never happened. There was no comment to Middlebrooks. There were no players overhearing. And no player went to the front office to complain. Costas failed to ask the blindingly obvious follow-up question: So why did you invent the story in the first place?
While Valentine was telling that lie back in August, he added that his error-filled game has happened on Seat Cushion Night at Dodger Stadium, and that angry fans threw seat cushions at him. Gordon Edes reports: "A newspaper account in the Los Angeles Times of the game in question made no mention of Seat Cushion Night or anything being thrown at Valentine."
Valentine also told Costas that he believed that David Ortiz quit on the Red Sox, refusing to come back from his Achilles' tendon injury during the final weeks of the season:
Ortiz came back after spending about six weeks on the disabled list and we thought it was only going to be a week. He got two hits the first two times up, drove in a couple runs; we were off to the races. Then he realized that this trade meant that we’re not going to run this race and we’re not even going to finish the race properly and he decided not to play anymore. I think at that time it was all downhill from there.Rob Bradford offers an excellent point-by-point rebuttal to Valentine's stream of bullshit. As far as the BV-WMB incident, Bradford believes it did happen.