The Nub

Men with Risky Flair: Bobby V and Mitt R

(Posted: 3/29/12)

Predictables: Things we know Bobby Valentine and Mitt Romney will do, sildenafil sooner or later: Bobby will ruffle feathers of his bosses and players, Mitt will hit the rhetorical ball all over the place. The two are linked by their Massachusetts connections and by their play in closely watched contests in their respective fields. Valentine is in a reported contest of wills with Red Sox GM Ben Cherington; Romney, we know, is front-runner in a Team GOP would-be-skipper competition.

Romney, a spray-to-right swinger in a field of pull-to-right hitters, will likely win because of his more moderate stance. Valentine, who seemingly wants to snatch Cherington’s role as roster decider, may win his power test in the short run. Both, however, face jams, owing to their style of play.

The book on Valentine, dating from his time with the Mets (1996-2002), is that his aggressive self-confidence surfaces after success. When he took the Mets to their last World Series in 2000, he became contentious in his dealings with GM Steve Phillips. Then, when he didn’t get his way, Bobby gave evidence of losing interest in his job. A late-developing truce notwithstanding, Valentine appears to be asserting himself early with the Sox; he’s clearly aware that he was the managerial choice of CEO Larry Lucchino and not new GM Cherington. Given Valentine’s flair for flamboyance, most Sox fans surveyed said they’d prefer seeing low-key Tito Francona still running the team. If the Sox look playoff-bound under Bobby, they’ll warm up to him. Whether Cherington ever will is problematic.

The right-field fans’ rap against Romney – that he has no “core” – could play to his advantage early in the presidential playoff. His flexibility on issues – what the boo-birds call “flip-flopping” – will serve him well with typical inattentive voters. And he’ll have all the paid media he needs to back up his switch-around game. It’s over the long season, when contradictions become noticeable, that Mitt risks looking unready to be the nation’s skipper.

As Seen From Abroad: On BBC America the other night, “race and guns” were identified as this country’s prime political problems. Voter attitudes about them, as much as about the playoff games, might prove decisive next November.

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Standout Stats from Tokyo Split: Bartolo Colon, one run, three hits, 6Ks in eight innings; Yoenis Cespedes, .333, one HR, two RBIs; Ichiro Suzuki, .444, one RBI.

Enthusiasm: On YES the other night, John Flaherty said he spent 10 seconds talking to Blue Jay coach Brian Butterfield. “’Brett Lawrie…Brett Lawrie…Brett Lawrie,’ is all he said, then added ‘He’s got it all’.” Lawrie, a third baseman who came to the Jays in the deal that sent Shaun Marcum to the Brewers, is hitting .567 this spring; nine of his 17 hits have gone for extra bases. He batted .293 after a call-up last September. Another important stat: Lawrie just turned 22.

Nostalgia: We can save our sympathy for the A’s, returning to the Oakland Coliseum from Japan. How is that? Everybody hates the Coliseum, right? Wrong. Here’s what former A’s closer Andrew Bailey, now with the Red Sox, said about it to the Globe’s Nick Cafardo: “It’s a great place to pitch, I remember those games against the Giants when we sold out, and you wish it could be like that every night because it was so loud. Players liked playing there.’’

Bad Brave Report Card: SI’s Cliff Corcoran on Jason Heyward, whom the Braves hope will have a bounce-back season: “One could write off the .183 (spring) average as bad luck given that he has shown a bit of power, but the plate discipline that was once a huge part of his value seems to have vanished as he has struck out 17 times in 18 games against just three walks.”

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(The Nub is a team effort skippered by Dick Starkey. Comments to dickstar@aol.com are welcome, and only they can be addressed by the skipper. Previous Nubs may be found by scrolling below.)

About Richard Starkey

Dick Starkey handled media for former NY Governor Mario Cuomo, former Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi and many other office-holders and candidates. He was sports editor of the Paris-based Herald Tribune. Perfect Pitch partner Robert Sullivan was the first to adapt focus groups to politics and has been called by Cuomo and others one of the "best" pollsters in the country.