Bobby Valentine of the Boston Red Sox watches batting practice before a game with Tampa Bay Rays at Fenway in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
The Red Sox manager made some comments about his third baseman that probably should have not been said in front of reporters.
"I don't think he's as physically or emotionally into the game as he has been in the past for some reason. But [on Saturday] it seemed, you know, he's seeing the ball well, got those two walks, got his on-base percentage up higher than his batting average, which is always a good thing, and he'll move on from there."
Factually, the last part of the quote is true. After a slow start -- and aren't we still in the "start" of this baseball season? -- Youkilis is 6-for-18 in his last five games with three walks, a perfectly fine performance, and the Red Sox just took three straight from the Rays.
It's not the performance that is going to get the Boston writers going, though. It's this part of the quote, which bears repeating:
I don't think he's as physically or emotionally into the game as he has been in the past for some reason.
Which will result in every writer in the known universe asking Youkilis why he's not "as physically or emotionally into the game" as he used to be. Of course, that's just his manager's opinion, but why would you, as a major league manager, say this in public, to writers just salivating for a story, any story that they could pounce on?
It's already caused one of Youkilis' teammates to speak out:
Pedroia: 'I really don't know what Bobby is trying to do but that's not the way we go about our stuff around here'— Rob Bradford (@bradfo) April 16, 2012
Pedroia adds that no one works harder than Youkilis, and that, "we have each other's backs in here."— John Tomase (@jtomase) April 16, 2012
Meanwhile, there's one more thing in Pete Abraham's story that will likely get local and national writers going:
Youkilis, who turned 33 in March, is engaged to marry Julie Brady, the sister of Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.
In what way is this relevant to Youkilis' production, or perceived lack of interest in the game? Is he staying out late with Julie Brady? Is he staying in too much with Julie Brady? How many questions is Kevin Youkilis going to be asked this morning about his relationship with Julie Brady?
Too many, probably. Bobby Valentine spent the last three seasons as a TV analyst for ESPN, in which his job was saying as much as he possibly could about baseball. He probably needs to flip that switch off.