Just when you thought the Boston Red Sox were heading toward irrelevance, there is Bobby Valentine stirring things up again.
Kevin Youkilis returns to Fenway Park tonight as a member of the Chicago White Sox after the Red Sox traded him to the Windy City in June. He will receive a well-deserved hero’s welcome from Red Sox Nation. But one person who is clearly glad to see him gone is Bobby V.
The Red Sox manager felt the need to take yet another shot at Youkilis. Back in April, Valentine said the then-Red Sox third baseman wasn’t as physically or emotionally into the game as he was before. Bobby V reignited the controversy this weekend by saying that Youkilis never got over that remark and alluding to rumors that Youkilis was suspected of making his teammates look bad by leaking stories about their drinking in the clubhouse. Apparently, trading Youkilis away wasn’t enough to rid Valentine of the hostility he obviously still feels toward his former player.
What motive does Bobby V have for stirring things up again? Perhaps he is on the defensive ahead of Youkilis’ return home to Boston, concerned that he will be blamed for Youkilis not being around anymore. Perhaps the manager is sick of hearing how much better Youkilis is playing as a member of the White Sox when his replacement in Boston has been off the field in recent weeks due to injury. But they say the simplest explanation is often the correct one so I suspect Valentine simply dislikes Youkilis and was unable to restrain himself from taking another shot at him. Bobby V has clearly lost the ability to restrain himself from making controversial comments, which is fun for us and baseball beat writers, but not so great if he wants to keep his team from completely imploding.
The New York Yankees archrivals have had a very rough time this season. They lost three out of four games to the Yankees before the All-Star break. They are 9.5 games out of first place and are barely keeping their heads above water. But they are getting reinforcements with the imminent return of Dustin Pedroia and Carl Crawford. They still have plenty of time to turn things around, as long as they don’t get too distracted. With Valentine as a manger, that’s really unavoidable, but it’s always fun to watch. But I bet Youkilis is thanking his lucky stars he doesn’t have to answer to Bobby V anymore.
Thanks to Keith Allison via Wikipedia for the Bobby Valentine photo.