If you believe the rumor mill, Gene Lamont is GM Ben Cherrington’s pick for new skipper of the Boston Red Sox, while CEO Larry Lucchino is said to favor former Rangers/Mets manager Bobby Valentine. Though the latter’s poor reputation with opponents and former players is the stuff of legend, Lucchino must not be an avid reader of the baseball press, as he asked former New York Times scribe Murray Chass for his opinion of Valentine. “I would rather not have people I am interviewing ask me questions,” grumbled Chass, who somehow manages to resent the intrusion while still going to great lengths to bury Bobby V. Chief amongst Valentine’s crimes, suggesting to reporters Todd Hundley needed more sleep, code, apparently, for the former Mets catcher having a drinking problem.

In Todd Hundley’s view, the problem with Valentine began when the manager appeared to be jealous of the player’s standing with the fans. ”He comes into a whole new situation and goes right after I guess the most popular guy,” Hundley said. ”It’s not my fault I’m the most popular guy.”

”I’m talking to my mom while she’s going through chemotherapy,” Hundley said, ”and I’m helping my wife with taking care of our two kids and he’s saying I’m out and about.”

”You see him coming from a mile away,” Hundley said. ”He thinks he’s working in the shadows, but he’s not. You can see right through him. I didn’t have to remember what I said to who and keep track of all this other junk. I’m not going to lie. It seemed like he had to keep track of, I said this to this guy, this to this guy, this to this guy and he got caught up in his web.”

Valentine, meanwhile, demonstrated a large dose of class several years later when a mutual acquaintance introduced my nephew to him in the workout room of a Las Vegas hotel. Told that he was “Murray Chass’ nephew,” Valentine said of me, “He’s a despicable human being.”

Relating the story to me, Kenny said, “Look on the bright side; at least he still referred to you as a human being.”