Trash Talking Bobby Valentine

The rivalry between the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox didn't need any more fuel to stoke its fire, but new Beantown manager Bobby Valentine seems to be enjoying stirring things up. He previously admitted that he "hates" the Bronx Bombers, no doubt stemming from his stint as manager of the New York Mets and playing second fiddle to the headline-grabbing cross-town competitors who also beat his team in the 2000 Subway World Series.

He was giving his new fanbase some "go get 'em" soundbites that they wanted to hear. After the laid-back managerial style of Terry Francona, Valentine wants to prove that there's a new sheriff in town. He has banned alcohol from the Red Sox clubhouse and will not shy away from letting his emotions play out front and center. Now he has also thrown the gauntlet down, casting verbal barbs at two of the Yankees biggest stars. He downplayed one of the Yankee captain Derek Jeter's most famous highlights, the "flip-throw" to get opponent Jeremy Giambi out at homeplate. "I think he was out of position," Valentine said of Jeter's memorable display of athleticism in the 2001 Playoffs, "And I think the ball gets him out if he doesn’t touch it, personally.” He also seemed to revel in the fact that Sox catcher Jason Varitek went after Yankee third baseman Alex Rodriguez in 2004, by saying, “He is a man’s man. He was a big hitter when needed. He was a leader of the pitching staff. He was able to beat up Alex. All that stuff is good stuff."  Those are the kinds of quotes that we never would have heard coming out of Francona's mouth.

Bobby is known as a mad genius. He's unpredictable and some might say outright crazy. (Remember when he was ejected from a game and returned to the dugout wearing a fake mustache as a disguise?), so this could all be a strategy to play with the minds of the Yankees players. It might work. Both Jeter and Rodriguez responded to Valentine's incendiary comments. A-Rod joked about it, but Jeter seemed genuinely confused about why Valentine was bringing up something from 2004.  Mindgames, anyone?

If you haven't seen the documentary The Zen of Bobby V, I highly recommend you check it out. It follows the story of Valentine's managerial job in Japan where he led the Chiba Motte Marines to glory and became somewhat of a cult figure there. It's a wonderful look at his work ethic, his dedication, his love of the game, and yes, his quirky personality and unpredictable nature.

One thing is certain, the rivalry between the Yankees and Red Sox will be turned up a notch this year thanks to the intentional or unintentional machinations of Bobby Valentine.

Go Yankees!