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Bobby Valentine: Kevin Youkilis is not “physically or emotionally into the game”

Apr 16, 2012, 8:09 AM EDT

Bobby Valentine

Bobby Valentine went on a local radio show in Boston last night and said this about Kevin Youkilis:

“I don’t think he’s as physically or emotionally into the game as he has been in the past for some reason. But [on Saturday] it seemed, you know, he’s seeing the ball well, got those two walks, got his on-base percentage up higher than his batting average, which is always a good thing, and he’ll move on from there.”

This is exactly what people are talking about when they say that Bobby Valentine is going to be trouble in Boston.  It’s a comment that, in and of itself, isn’t the biggest problem in the world.  A sports radio guy or a columnist might make it and no one would think a thing about it. It may be even true on some level too.

But it is not the kind of thing a team’s manager should ever say publicly about one of his players. The manager should be the one guy in the world who protects his players. He is the one guy who should be in the business of defusing controversies, not creating them. If a manager suggests there is a problem with a player, people will quite reasonably take it seriously.

Flash forward an hour or so from now. It’s an early start in Boston for Patriot’s Day, so it will be hard enough for players to get prepared. Youkilis will have to sit at his locker with an army of reporters there, however, explaining that yes, he is emotionally into the game right now despite what his manager said on the radio last night.  He will have to diplomatically sidestep questions from the press about why his manager might think that he’s not ready to play right now. It is probably the last thing he friggin’ wants, and it’s 100% created by the one guy who is supposed to have his back.

Bobby Valentine was hired by the Red Sox because there was a crazy media firestorm going on that led to the firing of Terry Francona.  It’s remarkable, then, that his primary contribution to the Boston Red Sox thus far is to create little media firestorms like this.

UPDATE: The beat reporters have started talking to Youkilis. His first comment: that he was “surprised and confused” by Valentine’s comments and that he heard from his agent about it last night.  Players talk about not liking distractions. This is what they mean. Youkilis probably just wanted to watch “Mad Men” last night and go to sleep, come to the park today and think about getting back on track. Instead he had to deal with this garbage.

UPDATE II:  Youkilis and Dustin Pedroia have responded more fully. Valentine said a moment ago that he has apologized to Youkilis. He said he did not mean that to be a motivational thing. Rather, he was simply asked about Youkilis and answered the question. He said the “physical” aspect of his comment was about his swing. And the “emotional” aspect was about Youkilis’ reactions to bad at bats, breaking bats, etc.

So, it’s probably over now. At least until the next time.

  1. EK Ohio - Apr 16, 2012 at 8:12 AM

    Yet, here you are, adding to the media firestorm. Youk is a big man who can protect himself, he doesn’t need his manager to coddle him.

    • detroitfanatic - Apr 16, 2012 at 8:15 AM

      Piling on a guy in a slump to someone other than him probably isn’t the best course of action. Youk can fight his own battles, but it’s hard to battle with a knife in your back.

      • odj810 - Apr 16, 2012 at 8:34 AM

        There is the possibility he indeed isn’t as commited as he was. Not working hard in B/p or showing uplate.

      • detroitfanatic - Apr 16, 2012 at 8:38 AM

        10 games in : not the fans business. To tell their fan base that one of their superstars doesn’t care, following last season, is ridiculously stupid.

    • bigharold - Apr 16, 2012 at 10:23 AM

      “Youk is a big man who can protect himself, he doesn’t need his manager to coddle him.”

      True, .. he doesn’t need anyone to protect him. Nor does he need his manager throwing him under the bus either.

      Even if Valentine’s assessment was 100% accurate, .. which I seriously doubt, .. this is NOT the kind of dirty laundry a smart manager airs in public, .. especially after only 10 games. For the life of me I can’t understand why Valentine did what he did. I can only imagine what the other players are thinking after hearing this BS.

      It’s is becoming more clear by the minute why it took 10 years for Valentine to get another manager’s job. He might know baseball strategy but otherwise he’s a train wreck.

    • drewsylvania - Apr 16, 2012 at 11:13 AM

      Valentine does this all the time. It’s why he should be fired already.

  2. detroitfanatic - Apr 16, 2012 at 8:13 AM

    Joe Maddon’s staff have given up over 30 runs in the last three games to these guys. I bet Joe Maddon doesn’t trash any of his guys in the media this week!

    • quintjs - Apr 16, 2012 at 8:21 AM

      He isn’t trashing Youk, in fact he had a couple of nice things to say at the end. The problem is that he should never have been commenting about it. He should have said “youk is a pro, and by years end the numbers will be there, he is a competitor”.

      So instead of enjoying a good day, one of his first of the season, Youk will again have to answer questions about a slow start and the slow start of the season.

      Bobby’s problem is he feels the need to always say something, when saying nothing is usually called for.

      • paperlions - Apr 16, 2012 at 8:35 AM

        That’s not his only problem. His biggest problem stems from a combination of thinking he’s smarter than everyone else and the constant need to try to prove it, which leads to him saying things he should be saying.

    • hittfamily - Apr 16, 2012 at 9:17 AM

      You are right about Maddon. They have already sent 2 guys to the minors this season. Lueke sucked, so he was sent to AAA. His replacement sucked, and forgot to cover first, so Dane De La Rosa was sent down. Alex Cobb is now up. They only have 2 starters hitting over .250, and only 2 relievers with an ERA under 6, and 3 with an ERA under 10.

      Maddon speaks with his lineup, not his words. Bobby V either needs to bench Youk, or STFU.

  3. kmgannon - Apr 16, 2012 at 8:17 AM

    Bobby V is usually the smartest guy in the room. The problem is, he seems to feel compelled to let everyone know that’s the case. There’s no on-deck circle for his observations…they just come out hackin’. Combine that with the rabid Boston media, and it’s going to be a long year.

    • detroitfanatic - Apr 16, 2012 at 8:20 AM

      Bobby V has Newt Gingrich syndrome. He isn’t the smartest man in the room, but sure feels that he is.

      • aceshigh11 - Apr 16, 2012 at 8:37 AM

        The best line said about Newt Gingrich, which also applies to Valentine:

        “He’s a dumb person’s idea of what a smart person looks like.”

        They’re intellectual legends in their own minds.

      • bigharold - Apr 16, 2012 at 10:28 AM

        The notion that Valentine is the “smartest guy in the room” went out the window for good after this nonsense.

    • paperlions - Apr 16, 2012 at 8:37 AM

      I swear I didn’t cheat off of your paper.

      Bobby’s problem is his ego. He not usually the smartest man in the room unless he’s alone. The most obvious evidence of this is that smart people know when to keep their mouth shut. There are probably few people in the world with as big a gap between how smart they think they are and how smart they actually are.

  4. xpensivewinos - Apr 16, 2012 at 8:29 AM

    Why Red Sox ownership felt that Valentine was the tonic that ailed them after Francona is beyond me.

    He was an absolutely atrocious hire.

    • hittfamily - Apr 16, 2012 at 8:54 AM

      Public relations department :
      ” OK, we blew a ten game lead in September. Our star left fielder is on the DL. Our captain just retired. Our hometown boy Theo left. Scilling is trashing our manager. Beckett is trashing Schilling. Our star closer left. Our replacement closer’s on the 60 day DL. We started 1-5. Our superstar centerfielder just blew out his shoulder. How do we spin this to keep our sellout streak alive?”

      “Well we could hype team chemistry, and Youklis.”

      “Valentine said what?!?!?!?! NOOOOOOOOO!!!”

    • bbil2012 - Apr 16, 2012 at 8:55 AM

      You said taw-nik.

  5. kiwicricket - Apr 16, 2012 at 8:34 AM

    Kevin Youkilis: Bobby Valentine is not “physically capable of shutting his mouth”

  6. aceshigh11 - Apr 16, 2012 at 8:35 AM

    Making a comment like this to the media is absolutely INEXCUSABLE.

    I don’t even care if it may be true…a good manager simply DOES NOT SAY IT PUBLICLY.

    Unreal. And the irony is Youkilis HAS been playing better the last few days. God knows if this puts him back in a mental funk, especially with the way the Boston sports media is.

    Bobby Valentine is some piece of work.

  7. paperlions - Apr 16, 2012 at 8:40 AM

    Honest question: If a manager doesn’t think a player is mentally or physically into the game, why does he keep writing his name into the lineup every day?

  8. dlindstedt2 - Apr 16, 2012 at 8:45 AM

    Bobby Valentine, the cancer in Boston…

  9. urfinished - Apr 16, 2012 at 9:05 AM

    No way this hire works out long term. 3 years max…no rings.

    • drewsylvania - Apr 16, 2012 at 11:26 AM

      I’ll be surprised if it lasts three months.

  10. xpensivewinos - Apr 16, 2012 at 9:12 AM

    3 years max?

    I was thinking mid-July…….

    • hittfamily - Apr 16, 2012 at 9:28 AM

      I saw Tek in his jersey to throw out the first pitch, and automatically assumed Valentine had been fired and Tek was the new manager.

  11. randygnyc - Apr 16, 2012 at 9:12 AM

    Bobby owes MLB fans a reason for Youklis’ slow, uninspired start. Now we know. He doesn’t care about the game, the team or his fans. Obviously. That’s what it means to be emotionally unprepared.

    Anyway, Valentine is exactly what the Sox ne……um….deserve.

  12. ray1950 - Apr 16, 2012 at 9:13 AM

    Interesting to note that Youk isn’t in the starting lineup today

  13. themightyquinn1 - Apr 16, 2012 at 9:22 AM

    One more time, he’ll be in the booth by the break.

  14. yankeesfanlen - Apr 16, 2012 at 9:22 AM

    Bobby V needs Joe Girardi talking lessons. Unfortunately, due to the nature of these things, they’re unavailable at any price and wouldn’t workanyway.
    Doesn’t ANYBODY remember when Bobby V. ran the Metropolitans?

  15. uyf1950 - Apr 16, 2012 at 9:26 AM

    Some of you may not recall or be to young to remember even the reruns of the Wizard of Oz. But in it the Scarecrow in the very beginning pined for a brain. Which brings me to my point. You can take the manager out of Queens, you can take him out of Japan but you can’t give him a brain.

  16. yahmule - Apr 16, 2012 at 9:36 AM

    So far, the Bobby Valentine/Red Sox union has been everything I hoped for and more.

  17. mornelithe - Apr 16, 2012 at 9:48 AM

    Well, Youk is definitely underperforming at the moment, and Valentine is without a doubt a polar opposite of Francona….not saying I condone it, but I would expect (from everything I’ve heard this should be an ‘interesting’ season to say the least) he’ll be handling things differently than most other managers.

  18. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Apr 16, 2012 at 9:57 AM

    Since Pedroia is the heir apparent to the Captain role in Boston, let’s see what he has to say (via Mike Vega at the Boston Globe):

    “I don’t know what Bobby’s trying to do, but that’s not the way we do things here,” said Pedroia. “Maybe that stuff works in Japan.”

    Youkilis told reporters Valentine had not raised any issues with him before commenting publicly.

  19. bbil2012 - Apr 16, 2012 at 10:11 AM

    The Boston media has speculated that Bobby is greasing the skids for one of Schilling’s boys.
    Yes,it’s going to be a long season in Boston.

  20. sabatimus - Apr 16, 2012 at 11:28 AM

    Bobby makes me want to watch Bill Belichick press conferences 24/7.

  21. oldpaddy - Apr 16, 2012 at 12:10 PM

    There’s two guys on the Sox that I have never questioned their effort, Pedroia and Youk. I’ve never seen or heard anything about Youk that would give me the impression that he’s not focused on baseball. In fact, I’ve heard that he’s TOO intense.
    Bobby V is doing a great job! At alienating EVERYONE! From the players to the fans.
    This momo will be gone by September.

    FYI Craig, only a handful of the Boston media were calling for franconas head. This was managements idea :cough luchino :cough:

    • sabatimus - Apr 16, 2012 at 1:10 PM

      Bobby’s done a great job: at leaving Bard in after throwing 8 straight balls (walking in a run) after 7 2/3 innings in a previously scoreless game against James Shields. Way to go, Grady.

  22. chumthumper - Apr 16, 2012 at 1:31 PM

    Even though I’m a “senior circuit” guy, it’s sad to see even AL teams starting to implode before the season really gets going. Valentine is toxic. Surely this isn’t what mgmt had in mind to take the heat off of chicken and beer.

  23. timpaz - Apr 16, 2012 at 4:41 PM

    Youkilis is a bum, I luv it when he charges the mound and gets his butt kicked, glad he’s in Boston, him and Manny were a good pair, Losers.

  24. astrosfan75956 - Apr 17, 2012 at 9:44 PM

    It is past time for Gardner to leadoff, he is a great hitter and a good table setter with top speed. It’s been fun Jeter but you’re now batting 8th. It’s a obvious choice!

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