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Bobby Valentine, Poor Man's Tony La Russa, Heads Toward Red Sox

The St. Louis Cardinals went in a risky direction when it came time to hiring their new manager, selecting the completely inexperienced Mike Matheny, but they avoided another kind of risk when they didn't talk up Bobby Valentine, the official Poor Man's Tony La Russa and, apparently, the new skipper of the Boston Red Sox. Don't get me wrong: I like that Bobby Valentine is managing again, and not just because it means he won't be broadcasting anymore. But—well—uh—

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He has one thing in common with La Russa: His ability to take the spotlight off his players, no matter what's happening. In Japan he did it by being a wacky American; in the states he did it by wearing a fake mustache, and, otherwise, being the kind of guy who just might wear a fake mustache, if pressed on it.

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All that's great, and he's been reasonably successful both in Texas and New York. But I'm not sure I could take all the baggage of a Tony La Russa-style manager if it came attached to reasonable success, and not one of the very best managers of all time. And anyway the Boston press will have much more fun with it.

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