Just when you thought the feud between Mark Teixeira and Vicente Padilla couldn’t get any nastier, it just did.
Padilla gave a Spanish-language interview to NESN, the Boston Red Sox media outlet, in which he accused Teixeira of mistreating his Latino teammates. For Padilla to turn a baseball disagreement into a racial issue is so far out of bounds that it’s just not right and makes me think the man has a couple of screws loose.
If Teixeira did threaten to hit Padilla with a bat, which I seriously doubt, it was something said out of frustration and anger over constantly getting hit in response to Padilla’s headhunting while Padilla hid behind the safety of the designated hitter. It was not something said to Padilla because Teixeira doesn’t like Latinos. Teixeira clearly does not like Padilla (Tex took great pleasure out of his game-winning hit over Padilla), but that isn’t because he is Latino. It’s because the guy is a coward who doesn’t care about his teammates. I wonder how Frank Francisco, whom Padilla accused Tex of also mistreating, feels about being dragged into this ugly drama.
With the scrutiny the New York Yankees receive, if there were any racial tensions between Teixeira and his teammates, we would probably know about it. But in Tex’s 3 ½ years with the Yankees, there’s never been a bad word said about him, anonymously or otherwise, by any of his teammates. In fact, there’s only constant praise for what he brings to the club, even during his offensive struggles.
Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine tried to laugh off the feud by saying that Padilla hasn’t been headhunting this year, but that he has to get back to that. I could understand a manager wanting to diffuse the situation, but he doesn’t seem to be taking seriously Teixeira’s chief complaint: that Padilla is going to end up seriously hurting someone if he doesn’t stop.
And Teixeira made a great point that Roger Goodell wouldn’t stand for his football players intentionally trying to hurt other players. Witness the stiff and justified punishments he handed out for Bounty-gate. Bud Selig and Major League Baseball shouldn’t stand for it either. The next time Padilla hits Teixeira, and there will be a next time, Selig should immediately suspend Padilla for at least 10 games.
I have a serious problem with someone who uses allegations of racism to justify his own bad behavior. Padilla is completely out of control, but we already knew that, didn’t we?