Saturday, January 28, 2012

Valentine speaks at UConn baseball team preseason dinner

"Lee Mazilli's son LJ is a junior infielder for the Huskies."... "While Boston Red Sox fans may hope otherwise, there may not be a scene where Bobby Valentine is more at ease than in a crowded room full of baseball fans and Connecticut baseball fans as well. Valentine, hired as the Red Sox manager in November, came to UConn to speak at the UConn baseball team’s preseason dinner because “he was asked.” Make no mistake, Valentine did his share of talking, listening and displayed a wit and charm that may have won over even
  • the New York Yankees fans inside the Rome Ballroom.
Valentine was handed countless items of baseball paraphernalia as he engaged in a give and take with fans who plucked down nearly $100 per person for the fundraising dinner. Whether it was listening to tales of the exploits of his father in law Ralph Branca or the time as a baseball prodigy in Stamford when a mammoth homer resulted in a broken window, Valentine was in his element. Before making his way to the public appearance, he spoke to the UConn baseball team and kept
  • the crowd entertained wherever he went on Friday evening.
While Valentine knows that most people would like to talk to him about the prospects of the Red Sox, he didn’t lose sight of where he was.
  • “This is one of the great sports programs in the world,” Valentine said.
“When you start hosting (baseball) regionals and continue to get national attention going to football bowl games, Final Fours in basketball it makes it among the top dogs in the world. I am proud of them, I’m from Connecticut.” Valentine appears ready to enter the boiling pot that goes with being the manager of the Red Sox. He knows that he will be under scrutiny on a daily basis and knows that the expectations of winning the World Series comes with the territory. However, he is more focused on the short term.
  • “It is what everybody’s (goal) is,” Valentine said. “I don’t like to be like everyone. I am thinking of the first day of spring training, that is what excites me.”
Among those in attendance was Lee Mazzilli, who was Valentine’s teammate with the New York Mets in 1977 and 1978. It was more than just friendship that brought Mazzilli to the event as his son LJ is a junior infielder for the Huskies."...

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