STAMFORD, Conn. (WFAN) — Bobby Valentine says he thought he might get fired after he was caught wearing a disguise in the Mets’ dugout in 1999.
Speaking to WFAN’s Joe Benigno and Evan Roberts from his Stamford restaurant Friday, the former Mets manager noted that three of his coaches had been fired just before that June game at Shea Stadium against the Blue Jays and that he, too, was on the hot seat.
After Mike Piazza was called for a rare catcher’s balk, Valentine argued the call and was ejected. But his coaches were so new to the team that none knew who the pitchers in the bullpen were, Valentine said.
“So anyway we made the disguise up,” he said. “I went out. Orel (Hershiser) was supposed to be blocking the third-base camera from seeing me. The helmet came into the dugout. I moved out of the way in not getting hit by the helmet. Orel leaned over to the side. The camera shot into the dugout. Wa-lah! There’s the idiot with the mustache!”
Valentine also discussed the near-brawl in the 2000 World Series after the Yankees’ Roger Clemens tossed a broken bat at Piazza. Valentine said commissioner Bud Selig had “prepped” the Mets before the series, telling them the world would be watching and urging the manager and his players to be on their best behavior.
“The next thing I know here comes the bat in the first inning at Piazza, and Mike’s going, ‘Where did that come from?’ And I’m saying, ‘Is a riot going to break out here?'” Valentine said.
Valentine said he’s glad Piazza didn’t retaliate.
“Because it was dumb,” he said. “It wasn’t aggressively bad. It was aggressively ridiculous that he (Clemens) took this 20 ounces and tried to throw it in the direction of Mike. Mike was almost laughing when I got there. (He said), ‘What is he, crazy?’
“I don’t think he was thinking,” Valentine said of Clemens.
“It would have been interesting if we charged in and did the fight,” he added. “Then he (Clemens) would have got thrown out of the game. Maybe we could have gotten into that bullpen.”
To listen to the interview, click on the audio player above.