Bobby Valentine's Big Mouth
Ok, who had April 15 in the Bobby Valentine pool? Yesterday, our intrepid manager stirred up his first controversy, calling out Kevin Youkilis to on Channel 7’s Sports Xtra show. Valentine said:
“I don’t think he’s as physically or emotionally into the game as he has been in the past for some reason. But [on Saturday] it seemed, you know, he’s seeing the ball well, got those two walks, got his on-base percentage up higher than his batting average, which is always a good thing, and he’ll move on from there.”
It’d be one thing if Bobby V. had just come out and blasted Youk, but to do it in a way that leaves the door so wide open for jokes about the third baseman’s recent marriage to Tom Brady’s sister? That’s just cruel, Bobby. Of course, that was only the beginning. This morning, Youkilis responded, and then, of considerably more note, Dustin Pedroia responded. WEEI’s Rob Bradford quotes Pedroia saying:
“I know that Youk plays as hard as anybody I’ve ever seen in my life. I have his back, and his teammates have his back. We know how hard he plays. I don’t really understand what Bobby’s trying to do. But that’s really not the way we go about our stuff here. I’m sure he’ll figure that out soon.”
Then somebody asked Pedroia if he thought Valentine could just be employing a motivational tactic.
“Maybe in Japan or something,” he said, referring to Valentine’s stint as a manager there. “Over here in the U.S., we’re on a three-game winning streak, we want to feel good and keep it rolling. We feel we have a good team and we’ve just got to get each other’s backs and play together. Because if you don’t do that, I don’t care what sport you’re playing, you’re not going to win.”
Please, allow me to translate that for you: “My name is Dustin Pedroia, and I have won the Rookie of the Year Award, the MVP, and a World Series, all here in Major League Baseball. You, Bobby Valentine, had to go to Japan to win anything at all. You’re new here and have proven nothing, so don’t be a jerk. And don’t you dare ever ask me to play cribbage with you. Muddy chicken. Laser show.”
At least I think that’s what he was thinking. But here is a fact: Valentine can piss off Kevin Youkilis and get away with it. Youk’s contract is up at the end of the year (though the Sox do hold a $13 million option to extend it) and, as good a career as he’s had here, he may well be on his way out. But Valentine can not piss off Dustin Pedroia and get away with it. If the Sox’ star second basemen, generally regarded as the unimpeachable heart and soul of the club, turns on Valentine, he doesn’t stand a chance.
Maybe Valentine knows that, because this morning, he’s already apologized to Youk, who it turns out, is sitting out today’s Patriots’ Day game with a soar groin. Maybe somebody kicked him down there.