When Dustin Pedroia learned of Terry Francona’s unfortunate dismissal last October, and was later informed of the hiring of Bobby Valentine, we can only assume he exhibited a version of Bitter Beer Face that would even cause popular company spokesman Floyd Landis to re-examine his effort.
Here’s the widely respected and clearly frustrated Red Sox All-Star discussing the awkward Valentine-Youk situation:
“I know Youk plays as hard as anyone I’ve ever seen in my life and I have his back and his teammates have his back … I don’t really understand what Bobby’s trying to do, but that’s not the way we go about our stuff around here. I’m sure he’ll figure that out soon … Maybe in Japan or something, but over here in the US we’re on a three-game winning streak and we want to feel good and keep it rolling.”
What’s most shocking is hearing a player — especially a great player on a very good team — openly discuss his current manager in such a questionable light, more or less implying said manager’s approach is, at best, confusing. And Pedroia wasn’t pushing the line of dramatics with his words, he’s absolutely right. Top all of that off with a dig about his manager’s time in the inferior Japan league and we are likely in for another day of what could become baseball’s longest, most unnecessary pillow fight.
Imagine this happening on Francona’s watch? Beyond unthinkable. Larry Lucchino making out with Hazel Mae in a camouflage hot air balloon would hold better odds than such lunacy.
When Valentine was hired by Boston, most of us thought he would provide the needed spark in reviving an increasingly decaying rivalry that has ultimately become a forced caricature of itself. I’m just not sure anyone thought he would unleash the Contra Spread Gun on his own lineup so early, and so willingly.