Let me tell you they’ve been laying it on thick at Fenway Park this weekend
Joe Maddon summed up his feeling for the Red Sox with these words: Ridiculous. Absurd. Idiotic. Incompetent. Cowardly behavior. Bobby Valentine fired back with a few of his own about the Rays: Unprofessional. Immature. Aggravating. Agitating. Instigating. Out of control.
I just wish these boys would stop hiding their true feelings and say what they really mean. First, a clarification. On Saturday, Maddon made it clear that he was not referring to Red Sox players. In fact, he went out of his way to praise them. Yet he made a point of letting his initial words stand. In other words, take that, Bobby V.
Look, I like Bobby Valentine. I think he’s really smart and an essentially decent man. He’s got a big ego, and at times, a big mouth, too. At times, both have gotten him into trouble. If he had it to do over again, he would have chosen his words more carefully earlier this season when he publicly wondered if Kevin Youkilis was “as physically or emotionally into the game as he has been in the past…”
He might have lost every player in his clubhouse with those comments, and it appears he has spent the last month trying to win back the trust of his guys. Maybe, just maybe, the Youkilis incident is what caused him to go way overboard Friday night after a bench-clearing brawl that began with Luke Scott getting plunked and heading for the mound.
Bobby V. might have gone on the offensive to let his guys know he has their back. So when Maddon ripped the Sox via Twitter after Friday’s game, Valentine came out firing on Saturday.
“I took offense to the aggressiveness of their coaches,’’ he said. “I thought it was really unprofessional.”
Bobby V. has spent the last 44 of his 62 years in and around professional baseball. He played in 639 Major League games and has managed another 2,235. I doubt very seriously if anything that happened at Fenway Park really offended him. I mean, stuff happens. Guy gets hit. Guy decides to fight pitcher. Cussing and shoving ensue. Then everyone goes back to their dugouts, and play resumes. Similar things have been going on for well over 100 years.
Footnote: Boston pitchers lead the Majors with 25 HBP. Meanwhile, the Rays have been hit 30 times–11 more than any other American League team. Meanwhile, Rays pitchers have hit just 14 batters, tied for eighth in the AL.