Joe Maddon zings Bobby Valentine

Bobby Valentine dragged Joe Maddon’s name into the conversation during his contentious interview on WEEI on Wednesday, and the Rays manager has responded.

Valentine was defending himself for arriving to the ballpark later than usual for a recent game when he brought up Maddon. To make himself look better, he told the hosts that Rays manager Joe Maddon only arrives to the park at 4:00pm for night games. Maddon heard about what Valentine said, so he decided to respond via Twitter:

Now that is how you respond. Is there any wonder why Maddon was voted the most underrated manager in baseball by an SI players’ poll? This is one sharp cat.

Bobby Valentine tells radio host ‘I’d punch you in the mouth’

In the latest example of why Bobby Valentine was not a good fit for Boston, the Red Sox manager went off during a radio interview and told the host he’d punch him in the mouth.

Valentine was appearing on WEEI’s “The Big Show” and was asked by Glenn Ordway if he had checked out of the season. He didn’t respond kindly.

“What an embarrassing thing to say,” Valentine answered. “If I was there, I would punch you right in the mouth. How does that sound? Does that sound like I’ve checked out? Why would someone even … that’s something that a comic strip person would write.

“If someone’s here and watching me go out at 2 o’clock in the afternoon working with the young players, bringing in the right relief pitchers to get a win, putting on a hit and run when it’s necessary, talking with the guys after the game in the food room … how could someone in real life say that?”

Valentine described the current season — the Red Sox are 63-74 — as “lousy” and “miserable.” But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t want to return next season.

“This is what I chose to do. I think it’s been miserable, but it’s also been part of my life’s journey,” said Valentine. “You learn from misery.”

The Red Sox manager was also particularly incensed with the media for writing that he was late to a game after picking up his son from the airport.

“I shouldn’t have to explain that,” Valentine said. “That pisses me off. Whoever wrote that knew what happened. They knew that my son was coming to see me for the first time in this lousy season and that I got to see him on the road, and that his flight was late, and that I was waiting at the airport in San Francisco for his flight to come in, and that came in, I sent the lineup in and reported to my coaches that I was going to be a little late. For someone to say that I was late is an absolute disgrace to their integrity if they have any.”

Valentine has had difficulty getting along with his players from the start, and the players even vented to ownership about him. Things are so bad that he’s now having trouble composing himself in radio interviews. It’s becoming even more clear than before that Valentine is just not a good fit for Boston.

Audio from the interview is below (the checked out part comes around the 2:40 mark):

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Dustin Pedroia: I don’t think Bobby Valentine should be fired

After seeing the Yahoo! Sports report on Tuesday about several Red Sox players ripping Bobby Valentine in a meeting with the owners last month, all indications are that Valentine has lost his clubhouse in his first year as manager in Boston. The team has not turned things around from its epic September collapse last year, and many of them feel the need to find somewhere to point their fingers. Dustin Pedroia insists he is not one of those players.

“I don’t think Bobby should be fired,” Pedroia after Tuesday night’s loss to the Orioles according to the Boston Herald. “Listen, we haven’t played well. That’s the bottom line. I’m not going to blame anything on Bobby. It’s on the players. Last year wasn’t on Tito (Terry Francona). I know he took it hard. We all did. It’s on the players, man.”

With Jason Varitek having retired and Kevin Youkilis now playing in Chicago, Pedroia is the supposed leader of the Red Sox. However, part of Tuesday’s bombshell report included a story about a photo that is circulating through the organization that shows Bobby V. apparently sleeping and a caption that reads “Our manager contemplating his lineup at 3:30 p.m.” If you remember, Dustin was also very vocal in voicing his displeasure about Valentine earlier in the season when Bobby questioned Youkilis’ motivation.

While I agree that Valentine needs to be fired if he can’t earn the respect of the team, that doesn’t mean I blame him in any way for what has happened this season in Boston. This team embarrassed itself last September when Bobby V. wasn’t around, and they’ve managed to do it again this season. The party animal attitude and sense of entitlement around the Red Sox clubhouse has poisoned the team. Valentine is nothing more than a victim of circumstance.

Photo credit: Tom Szczerbowski-US PRESSWIRE

Some Red Sox players blast Bobby Valentine in meeting with owners

The relationship between Bobby Valentine and some Red Sox players has been fractured from the start, became worse during the season, and reportedly reached the point in late July where they no longer wanted to play for him. That’s according to a report from Yahoo! Sports’ Jeff Passan, who says several players blasted Valentine during a meeting with ownership last month.

According to Passan, the owners called for the meeting on July 26 in response to Adrian Gonzalez, who, texting on behalf of his teammates, complained that Valentine left pitcher Jon Lester in to allow 11 runs during a July 22 start. Some of the players reportedly told management they no longer wanted to play for Valentine. Passan’s report points out that some players did not participate in the Valentine-bashing meeting because they feel he has been unfairly blamed for the team’s struggles.

Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington confirmed to USA TODAY Sports’ Bob Nightengale that a meeting with players and ownership occurred.

Said Cherington in an e-mail to USA TODAY Sports:

“There was a meeting in New York with ownership and players. There were a variety of topics covered and some frustrations expressed. No ultimatums were issued. The focus of the meeting was an airing out of issues in an effort to focus our attention on the field.”

Players were reportedly upset with Valentine for leaving in Lester to be embarrassed against Toronto. Another incident that upset players was Valentine telling third baseman Will Middlebrooks “Nice inning, kid,” after the rookie made a fielding mistake.

And then there’s this amazing anecdote that shows Dustin Pedroia’s disdain for Valentine. Apparently the picture described below has been circulating among the Red Sox via text message:

Pedroia, notorious among teammates for his wit and humor, is in the foreground with a giddy smile, his tongue wagging and both thumbs up. Next to him is allegedly Valentine, face down on a table, apparently asleep. A caption accompanies the picture: “Our manager contemplating his lineup at 3:30 p.m.”

That picture wouldn’t be too far off from describing the truth about Bobby Valentine, who, speaking to reporters before Tuesday night’s game at Baltimore, deflected comment on the Yahoo! report.

“They’re still playing for me,” he said of the disgruntled players.

That may be true, but the team isn’t playing particularly well; Boston is 57-59 and 5.5 games out in the wild card race.

Red Sox ownership made a bold move by hiring a divisive personality like Valentine after last season’s collapse. The hiring does not seem to be working, and at this point the Red Sox would be crazy to bring him back for another season.

Dustin Pedroia says he didn’t join Bobby Valentine on mound for conference because he swallowed his dip

Last week, a report surfaced that discussed the possibility that Bobby Valentine is losing the Red Sox clubhouse. Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com cited an unnamed player who said Valentine doesn’t have the support of “anyone” in the clubhouse. He was also told that Adrian Gonzalez and a couple of other players don’t communicate with Valentine.

Dustin Pedroia was also mentioned in the story because of an incident in Chicago where Valentine came out of the dugout for a mound visit and Pedroia was the only member of the infield to not partake in the discussion. Prior to Thursday’s game against the White Sox, Pedey explained what happened.

“I swallowed my dip, man,” he told reporters according to WEEI. “Bobby came out and right when I went to take a step I went to take my dip out and I (expletive) swallowed it. Man down. I chilled out right there. David (Ortiz) was playing first base and he said, ‘What the (expletive) is wrong with you?’ I told him, ‘I swallowed my dip, man.'”

Pedroia, who was very vocal in sticking up for Kevin Youkilis earlier in the season, went on to say that him and Valentine “get along great.” Swallowing your tobacco can’t be a comfortable feeling, and I’m sure Mike Napoli could tell us all about that.

With Cody Ross’s walk-off home run Thursday night, the Red Sox took three out of four from the White Sox. Assuming David Ortiz doesn’t miss a ton of time, the team seems to be getting healthy and showing signs of life. If they revert to losing, we’ll hear all about how none of the players respect Valentine. If they can keep the momentum that they have started to build in the second half going, everyone will talk about how Valentine is doing a tremendous job.

H/T Hardball Talk
Photo credit: Tom Szczerbowski-US PRESSWIRE

Bobby Valentine: Kevin Youkilis never got over my criticism

Kevin Youkilis is returning to Fenway Park on Monday for the first time since being traded from the Red Sox to the White Sox three weeks ago. In anticipation of Youkilis’ return, Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine was asked on Sunday if there was friction between the two. Based on his reaction, it’s safe to say Valentine still has friction with Youk.

“I think that’s a joke,” Valentine told the media, per the Boston Globe. “I wasn’t here last year. There was no friction in spring training. So I think that’s a joke. But I’ll take all that. I think the comment that I made early, he made a big issue out of and I don’t think he ever wanted to get over it.”

Valentine questioned Youkilis’ commitment early in the season, setting the stage for Youkilis being traded months later.

Valentine was asked how his relationship was with Youkilis after the making those comments.

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Bobby Valentine reportedly losing support of Red Sox players

The Bobby Valentine hiring by the Red Sox seemed like a bad idea from the start. Last November, days after it was reported that the Sox were hiring the former ESPN analyst to replace Terry Francona, a report came out saying players were unhappy with the hiring. Valentine took a shot at Terry Francona in February, and by March he already reportedly was in his first big power struggle. This is all before the season began, mind you.

Valentine then called out Kevin Youkilis early in the season and he lost some of the respected vets because of it. And on Thursday night, Gordon Edes of ESPN Boston wrote a report detailing some of the supposed dysfunction within the Red Sox organization and the dislike many players have for Valentine.

Edes mentions a bullpen coach that has little communication with Valentine, and he says Adrian Gonzalez and a few others don’t communicate with the manager much.

One player told Edes that Valentine doesn’t have the support of “anyone” in the clubhouse, but another player reportedly has “come around” on the manager.

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