Some have reported that Bobby Valentine has lost the Red Sox clubhouse. He hasn’t lost Carl Crawford, however.
In an interview with WEEI’s Rob Bradford, Carwford first suggests that his struggles last year had something to do with Terry Francona:
“I didn’t feel like I had the manager’s confidence. I don’t know about the organization, but I don’t try and look past the manager so I feel like I didn’t have the manager’s confidence therefore I started to think something was wrong with me, and it just snowballed after that. It had a trickle-down effect, and it just got worse and worse as the days went by.”
His beef is that Francona dropped him in the lineup after only two games last year. But, despite some stuff in the offseason in which Crawford was reported to not have returned Valentine’s calls, he’s just fine with Bobby V now:
I know a lot of people might have problems with him, but for me I just haven’t had those problems. It’s fine with me. I don’t know what’s going to happen in the future, but as of right now me and Bobby get along just fine … I have to say that the support system has been really good for me, Bobby, and the training staff has been wonderful … The communication with me and Bobby, coming into the season that’s what I was worried about. It’s been the opposite. You can’t do anything but have high praise for what has been going on.”
If form holds, there will be a story in the Globe next week about how everyone hates Crawford now because he likes Bobby. Because, based on the coverage we read anyway, the Red Sox are basically a high school home room placed in the major leagues.
All spring training there was at least some mild confusion about Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman. He played in almost no regular big league spring training games, instead, staying on the back fields, playing in simulated and minor league contests. When that usually happens, it’s because a player is rehabbing or even hiding an injury, but the Nats insisted that was not the case with Zimmerman. Not everyone believed it. I, for one, was skeptical.
The skepticism was unwarranted, as Zimmerman answered the bell for Opening Day and has played all season. As Jared Diamond of the Wall Street Journal writes today, it was all by design. He skipped spring training because he doesn’t like it and because he thinks it’ll help him avoid late-season injuries and slowdowns, the likes of which he has suffered over the years.
It’s hard to really judge this now, of course. On the one hand Zimmerman has started really slow this season. What’s more, he has started to show signs of warming up only in the past week, after getting almost as many big league, full-speed plate appearances under his belt as a normal spring training would’ve given him. On the other hand, April is his worst month across his entire 14-year career, so one slow April doesn’t really prove anything and, again, Zimmerman and the Nats will consider this a success if he’s healthy and productive in August and September.
It is sort of a missed opportunity, though. Players hate spring training. They really do. if Zimmerman had made a big deal out of skipping it and came out raking this month, I bet a lot more teams would be amenable to letting a veteran or three take it much more easy next spring. Good ideas can be good ideas even if they don’t produce immediately obvious results, but baseball tends to encourage a copycat culture only when someone can point to a stat line or to standings as justification.
Way to ruin it for everyone, Ryan. 😉