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BRUNO SHOW: Mets skipper on Piazza rumors

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Mets manager Bobby Valentine appeared on Tony Bruno's FOX Sports Radio show Wednesday morning to discuss the fallout from comments he made to Details magazine and subsequent rumors surrounding Mike Piazza's sexuality. Here's the text of the conversation: Tony Bruno: Bob, how are you, man? Bobby Valentine: Hey Tony, why the hell is it so hard for people to read these days? The year 2002? We have so many people in the media who have no idea on how to put words together and read and when you're asked a question, you give a simple answer, why is it that's so hard to interpret? TB: Because you know what the problem is, Bob? No one reads the story first, they hear a tidbit or snippet from something that hasn't been released yet, and everybody runs with it with their own interpretation of what you actually said. Isn't that what this is all about? BV: Well I think that that's exactly right. It's not even what I actually said, it's what they wanted to mean that I said and the first guy that wrote it in the New York Post is ... I just wish there was a good lawyer out there who wanted to run with it because the laws of libel just say all you have to do is prove malice, which means if you write something that is harmful to somebody else and you write it knowing that it's incorrect that you're then liable. This guy knew what he wrote was incorrect, he read the article, then he said I came out from "out of the blue" and said something about this, and that's just irresponsible and it pisses me off to no end, I can tell you that, because I'm tired of it and I think other people should be tired of it too. TB: Let's recap this for people who don't know. There's a magazine called Details. They asked you to do an article where they basically gave you a list of questions, right, and asked questions, and then did they sit down after they asked you the questions and put a story together, or did they just take the answers to the questions and then put a story together? How did it work? BV: No, there's no story. There's Q & A with Bobby V. There's eight questions on one little page. And the eight questions range from "How was it working for George W. Bush in Texas?" to "Don Zimmer's doing a Preparation H commercial, would you do a Viagara commercial?" And in the middle of that was "Do you think it's time that baseball would allow an openly gay guy to be a team member." And my answer was, "Probably because players are diverse enough to accept a lot of things today. It's the year 2002." That's the question, that's the answer, that's the context, and this is where we've gone with it. I think it's ridiculous. Andrew Siciliano: And really, Piazza's name wasn't included in this New York Post article, if I'm correct, right? It was kind of, he danced around the issue and then by the time Mike got the ballpark yesterday, the thing had caught fire. BV: That's right. That's right. I don't know if this is libelous as far as anybody's name is concerned, Mike's or anybody else. My name is the only one in the article, and I was trashed. TB: So you were not asked, "Is Mike Piazza or any other member of the New York Mets team possibly gay, and if he comes out would he have a firestorm of controversy?" That had never entered the equation, right? BV: I mean, that's too easy. The guy is gonna write an article, I'm accessible every single day of the year, and he's going to use me in an article, you think he would call and say, like you are right now, "Hey, there's this Details article. Were you thinking about somebody specific when you said the clubhouse could be open, is it somebody on your team, is it somebody on another team?" I don't have any idea, I don't know of one person in all of baseball that I'd even suspect to have that persuasion, yet I think in my mind if it's time, it's time. If there was, I don't think it's any big deal. AS: Now Bobby, all this started last year when another magazine article in which someone made reference to an "unnamed big league East Coast ballplayer who is gay but nobody knows it." And then there are plenty of rumors around because, as you say, Piazza likes to date models, lots of guys out there like to date models but they're still single well into their 30s and the speculation runs rampant. BV: I guess. I don't know where the derivation is. All I know is that fair is fair, and those who are guilty are guilty, and some people should be embarrassed over this thing and it shouldn't be Mike Piazza or Bobby Valentine. TB: So why was Mike Piazza then almost compelled, and I mentioned he was more amused then he was ticked off at the press last night in Philly, when the reporters gathered around him on the third base line before the game asking him? BV: Only because there was so many insinuations and innuendos that it was him. Once you go from there to having other radio personalities and TV personalities say that well, it was Bobby Valentine, he's the manager of the Mets, they're talking about a player on the Mets, Mike Piazza's a player on the Mets, and he's a big catcher, well what do you all think? And he's single. TB: Did Mike and you have a talk about this? Did he say, "Hey, Bobby did you call me out?" Have you guys discussed this privately? BV: Mike's a lot smarter than most people in the media, I think, Tony, in that he researched it before he asked me. He saw the article and he said, "That's ridiculous that they could draw some kind of conclusion from an an innocuous statement that you make in an article to you saying it's somebody on your team." I saw some guy on the TV here in Philadelphia who came out last night, this is three days later, and he's doing NBC news — I'd like to know the clown's name — and what he says is, "Well, Bobby Valentine mentioned that somebody on his team is gay, and so Mike Piazza had to go through all this. Why would Bobby put him through something like that?" Isn't there some kind of responsiblity, if I slip up and don't have the pinch hitter ready on the on-deck circle in the seventh inning of a game on the West Coast, it's big news for my irresponsiblility and me not doing the job. Isn't there some standard that the people in the media are held to? TB: Apparently not, Bobby, because that's a great point. You expect somebody in a bar to be sitting around hearing it third, fourth, fifth-hand, by the time it gets down to that level. It's the urban legend syndrome, somebody says something so therefore it's true and then by the time 15 other guys tell you the story, it's a completely different story. It's ridiculous. BV: Exactly. But this clown last night is wearing a shirt and tie on NBC on television. This isn't a guy in the bar. And it's three days later, he's going on to tell his audience what the news is, do you think he could've done anything to get it right? The "Tony Bruno Morning Extravaganza" can be heard everyday from 8 a.m. to noon ET on FOX Sports Radio. E-mail Tony Bruno at TonyB@FOXSports.com or Andrew Siciliano at AndrewS@FOXSports.com.
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