UPDATE: Looks like today’s headline-creating comments might be Valentine’s last as a Red Sox employee. Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports that “upper management intends to remove Valentine as manager soon after the season ends.”
Bobby Valentine appeared on local radio in Boston this afternoon, which means Bobby Valentine said something that made headlines this afternoon. That’s just how it works at this point.
This time what happened is that WEEI host Glenn Ordway asked Valentine if his coaching staff has been loyal to him this season and the manager replied simply: “No.”
Ordway then asked if the coaching staff has tried to undermine him, to which Valentine said: “Yes.”
And then he went on to say:
I had to work through it all. Just another thing that’s part and parcel with the job. Work though it and try to make it better. That’s my job to make it all better, make it all functional.
“That’s my job to make it all better, make it all functional” coming from Bobby Valentine is maybe the funniest thing anyone has ever said.
Valentine later revealed that he’d like to make “some” changes to the coaching staff. If the Red Sox don’t fire him, of course.
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. 😉