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Dec
03

The Wonder of Bobby Valentine

For the Non-Facebook Audience: Far be it for me to start a Photoshop contest, but we’ve heard so much about all the great things Bobby Valentine can do. How come no one’s bringing up the time he ran for president?

Bobby Valentine in "The 1988 Presidential Race"

And hey, if he fails, imagine how apt the symbolism will be!

Speaking of military history, what about when he helped establish the republic?

Bobby Valentine Crosses The Delaware

Breeches never looked so good.

This is what happens when I have a touch too much free time at the office. I know, I wish it happened more too.

— One more nugget from the reams of articles I dug through before penning my Bobby Valentine S-T column … from July 20, 2002, the story of how Valentine met current Red Sox shortstop Marco Scutaro.

Bobby Valentine was having lunch today at the restaurant at the hotel where the Mets are staying, watching television, when a stranger came up and sat next to him.

“Hey, Bobby. How are you?” the young man said before getting off his stool and approaching Valentine.

“Nice to meet you,” Valentine responded. “What’s your name?”

“Scutaro,” the man said.

When Valentine did not respond, the stranger went back to his seat. Finally, during a commercial break, Valentine asked: “What are you doing here? You live here?

“”No, I just got called up,” said Marco Scutaro, an infielder who was promoted from Class AAA Norfolk to replace Joe McEwing on the Mets’ roster.

The next day, the Times summed it up: “Bobby Valentine did not recognize Marco Scutaro the first time he saw him, thinking he was a friendly fan when Scutaro introduced himself last Friday at a Cincinnati restaurant, where the Mets were playing. Scutaro mumbled his name and Valentine could not understand him, perhaps because of Scutaro’s Venezuelan accent or perhaps because he was unfamiliar with the name.”

Scutaro played the first 27 games of his MLB career for Valentine’s 2002 Mets, among them one notable three-inning stint as a left fielder. (He’s made 18 appearances in the outfield in his career.) As the story goes:

Scutaro, recalled when Edgardo Alfonzo was placed on the disabled list Friday with a strained oblique muscle, played only five games in left field at Class AAA Norfolk, but Manager Bobby Valentine’s reports told him Scutaro was competent to play there in a major league game. So when Valentine used Scutaro to bat for Jeromy Burnitz in the fifth inning — Scutaro looked at strike three — he intended to put him in left.

. . .

In the sixth, Cardinals catcher Eli Marrero reached for a pitch by Reed, the Mets’ second reliever in today’s game, and lofted a fly ball to deep left field. Scutaro broke left, then right, and finally watched the ball land over his head for a leadoff double. “I didn’t have any reason to think he couldn’t play out there,” Valentine said.

The 2002 Mets, everybody. I’m sure Marco’s memories are fond ones.