Bobby Valentine’s volley back at David Ortiz on Thursday? Big Papi doesn’t know what he’s talking about.
“Obviously, David didn’t even understand what was going on,” Valentine said in a CBS Sports radio interview Thursday with Tiki Barber and Brandon Tierney.
An excerpt from Ortiz’s forthcoming book with Michael Holley, “Papi: My Story,” was released on SI.com on Thursday and thoroughly trashed Valentine, the Red Sox’ manager during a horrendous 2012 season.
One incident raised was when Valentine chewed out infielder Mike Aviles for calling for a pop up.
What Valentine wanted was outfielders to call for pop ups, and infielders to say nothing. On this, they agreed. Where they disagreed was why.
Here's how Ortiz said he understood it, via SI: "He thought that was an unreliable way of calling off a teammate because, in a noisy stadium, the player who’s being called off might not hear his teammate taking control. Well, all players have habits. And in American baseball, most infielders taking the play say, 'I got it.'"
Said Valentine to CBS:
“There are rules in baseball that maybe I didn’t explain properly when I was there. Maybe that’s David’s confusion. In baseball — not in Bobby Valentine’s baseball — in all of baseball, the person who runs in for the ball calls for it. The person who runs out for the ball says nothing. So that you’re not saying something at the same time.
“The outfielder calls the ball, and the infielder does not say,'I’ve got it.' And we had a situation where Mike Aviles, I believe it was, continued to call, 'I got it,' when he would go out. And after doing it about the third time, I said, I asked him what his problem was, was it hearing or learning. And afterwards, it was like this major — and I said it with a loud voice, don’t get me wrong, and I might have even used an expletive or two to get my point across — but afterwards three or four of the guys came in and said how Mike was in his locker, and his head was down, and I had to apologize because I hurt his feelings and embarrassed him. And I thought that was rather, interesting, let me just put it that way. And I did apologize.
“Oh I absolutely apologized. I didn’t totally get it.”
“It wasn’t like the first time. It was after a couple times, and obviously, David didn’t even understand what was going on.”
Ortiz said in his book he would have punched Valentine in the face had Valentine treated him that way. Valentine responded by saying what he was asking his players to do is something his players do today at Sacred Heart University, where he is the executive director of athletics.
“You know, maybe, yeah, he was upset that I was yelling a player at who wanted to do things his way,” Valentine said. “Believe it or not, you know all of baseball, I have two college teams right here, they’re good college teams, I’ve watched them play pop ups … that’s just standard operational baseball procedure.”
Valentine also suggested Ortiz could have done more to express his feelings directly.
“Well, I wish he told me three weeks into the season instead of hugging me all the time when he saw me,” Valentine said laughing. "I’ve heard a lot of those general comments. But, whatever. I hope he sells a lot of books. … I hope I help him sell some."
(Valentine, you may recall, once threatened to punch WEEI radio host Glenn Ordway.)
Valentine took 'hardly anything' away from Boston
Asked what he takes away from his time with the Red Sox, Valentine tried to downplay it.
“Hardly anything. It was six months of life,” Valentine said. “It was 162 of 4,000 games that I was involved in. It wasn’t a lot of my life and it was you know pretty good for about 105 games and then it all went to hell and I guess it wasn’t pretty good at all because David said it wasn’t good after two days. You know, it was real tough duty. You know, no kind of systems that were necessarily in place. I felt like I was a little out on the island, but I was trying to do my best and that’s all I ever do, whatever I do. And it obviously wasn’t good enough.
Valentine said his marching orders weren’t extensive when he took the job.
“That was a crazy time going on there, you know? And do fundamentals in spring training,” Valentine said. “I heard that 100 times. Other than that there weren’t many directives."