Spring training is barely underway and new Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine has already upset a bunch of folks.
He has exchanged barbs with his predecessor, Terry Francona. He aggravated Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter while reminiscing about his hallmark defensive play in the 2001 ALDS.
He zinged Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez, noting that former Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek’s fine legacy included the time he “beat up” A-Rod.
We’re guessing this won’t be the only time the New York media has to rush to A-Rod for a reaction to something Valentine says.
“Like I've said, guys, I'm not gonna win many battles here when it comes to words, especially against Bobby,” Rodriguez told the New York media. “But I will tell you this, I got my new press secretary that should be landing in couple of days, Reggie Jackson, so I'll let him handle that, all right?”
Here is what they are saying about Valentine’s antics on the Internets:
Marty Noble, MLB.com: “Bobby Valentine has a master's degree in irritating the other team. And in his new role as Red Sox manager, he will have opportunity to irritate the Yankees. Witness his remarks on Tuesday in camp when asked about the impact of Varitek: ‘From afar, he was everything you want a guy who wears a 'C' to be. He was a man's man, he was a big hitter when needed, he was the leader of the pitching staff. . . . He was able to beat up. All that stuff. He was exactly what he was supposed to be.’ More likely to irritate Yankees followers were Valentine's comments about one of the more hallowed plays in Yankees' history -- Derek Jeter's free safety save and backhanded flip against the Athletics in Game 3 of the 2001 AL Championship Series. The play saved the Yankees.”
Dan Lamothe, Red Sox Monster: “We're on the cusp of a year that will be filled with more annoying drama than your average Adele song, and there's nothing we can do to about it. At the center of this, of course, will be the transition from Terry Francona to Bobby Valentine. This week alone, it's already given us dueling storylines, with Francona remarking that Valentine's decison to ban beer from the clubhouse smells like a public relations move and Bobby V opening fire on the Yankees, mocking Derek Jeter's celebrated flip-to-home in 2001 and bringing up Jason Varitek's 2004 glove sandwich for Alex Rodriguez.”
Ed Valentine, Around the Empire: “Make no mistake, Valentine is not doing this without thought, without a purpose. The former New York Mets skipper is a lot of things -- talkative, annoying, egotistical, odd -- are just a few that come to mind. One thing Valentine is not, though. He is definitely not stupid. He knows exactly what he is doing when he turns his taciturn tongue on the most important Yankees, and the team's most important personnel moves. He is trying to get under the skin of the Yankees, or get in their heads if you want to put it that way. He is trying to make the Yankees think about him, be aware of him. He wants to distract their focus.”
Jeff Capellini, CBSNewYork: “What makes Valentine truly unique is his shameless approach to causing mischief. It’s mostly playful mischief, but mischief nonetheless. He upsets the apple cart for the sake of upsetting the apple cart. He stirs the pot regardless if someone forgot to add all the ingredients. He’s the original Rex Ryan, without the predictions. There’s no need for him to put the cart before the horse because he’ll give you enough talking points in five minutes to last several news cycles. By the time he’s through you’ll be left wondering what his original point was. He’s simply the big fish in any size pond.”
Rob Neyer, Baseball Nation: “If you're a Red Sox fan you have to hope that Bobby Valentine is sly rather than foolish. You have to hope that Valentine is merely trying to motivate his troops; that he'll say or do almost anything within reason to establish a powerful new us-vs.-them mentality. The best part of all this? He's only just begun. This is only going to get better, sports fans.”