There is a shit storm a-brewin’ in Boston right now, and it’s not your typical Patriot’s Day type of shit storm where the Massachusetts Irish put the “our people don’t get drunk” theory to the test by downing more boilermakers by 11:30 AM than most humans consume in a lifetime.
No, this shit storm is one of the loose lips sink ships variety that all started last night on WHDH’s Sports Xtra show, when Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine answered a question about Kevin Youkilis by saying:
I don’t think [Youkilis is] 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.
Your opinion on Bobby Valentine is probably rooted in one of two theories about his interactions with the media: 1) He works hard to become the focal point so that his players aren’t bothered with questions or distractions; or 2) He works hard to become the focal point so that he can satiate his overwhelming need for attention.
No matter what the motivation was for his comments on Youkilis, and no matter the context, Valentine should have known better than to create a drama with such words.
According to Dustin Pedroia:
I really don’t know what Bobby is trying to do but that’s not the way we go about our stuff around here.
During today’s scrum with the Boston media, Valentine tried to justify his comments, or at least explain them.
The question was “it’s not Youk-like’ way he’s playing.”
I should have explained that his swing isn’t what he wants it to be. Physical part of [Youkilis'] swing is frustrating him. Frustration leads to emotion. I haven’t seen him break as many helmets as I saw him break on TV. Just seemed different.
At the end of the thing I said I don’t know what the reason is because I haven’t been here long enough. I don’t know why his swing isn’t exactly what he wants it to be, why he’ he’s not throwing as many helmets. I thought it was rather innocuous.Matter of fact, seemed like they were trying to bang him and I started it by saying how good his at-bats were that day.
Kevin came in this morning, I thought it was about his groin, he was going to tell me how his groin was, [if] it was sore after the game yesterday, so I was, “How you doing, how’s the groin?”
He said, “It’s all right but what’s going on? He told me people had called him and said I said things he didn’t like, I totally apologized, I said, “Jesus. The last thing in the world I want you to think that I’m criticizing you, I was just giving an answer to a question.”
I don’t know if he accepted my apology. It was very sincere.
I was just trying to smooth it over. I guess I didn’t. Oh god, come on. We’re big boys and I’m sure he’s going to get it. If not, I’ll talk to him.
Once again, the original comments themselves aren’t that awful. However, they’re certainly the type that should inspire a phrase or two that being with, “He should have known better than to say such things.”
The real issue here is this: correct me if I’m wrong, but part of what made Valentine an appealing option to manage the club was the way in which he handles the media. That must have been seen as an asset following last September’s melt down and the ensuing “discoveries” of clubhouse drinking and turmoil.
His comments are in no way intelligent. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if we’ve all completely forgotten about this in a couple of weeks, assuming the Red Sox play well over that period. If they don’t, we’ll never hear the end of it.