Bobby Valentine taking shots at Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter sparked some life into a quiet period, maybe even quieter than usual, of Baseball spring training. Nothing wrong with spreading a little hate between the two biggest rivals, and MLB’s most important rivalry.
Alex Rodriguez didn’t have much to say actually about Valentine commenting on his dust up with Jason Varitek in 2004. Varitek is now retired, and there’s more discussion whether the Red Sox should retire his jersey or not. The fight? I don’t think A-Rod has thought about that one in quite some time.
Derek Jeter actually talked for 5 minutes regarding Valentine’s remarks, talking about Jeter’s famous flip-to-home during the 2001 playoffs against the A’s. He didn’t say much, mostly What do you guys want me to say?
Whether or not trying to get into the heads of certain Yankee players is a good strategy is debatable. A-Rod looks like the easier guy to phase out, but his very expensive role in the lineup isn’t what it used to be. Injuries have been taking their tole, along with age and maybe less of an interest in remaining at the top individual level after winning the World Series. And who knows about PEDs.
Jeter probably won’t be playing better or worse this season because of Bobby Valentine. But it’ll generate more interest, and might sway the attention from the fact that the Red Sox look less intimidating than last season, which didn’t end in great success anyway. Big mouths and empty words can take away the focus from what really matters, and that’s what the Red Sox are planning to do differently, besides banning alcohol in the dressing room, to prevent last season from happening.