What’s all the fuss about? Basically in an interview on NBS Valentine called Ortiz’s desire to play through injury out. The quote is pretty damning, however, judge for yourself.
"David Ortiz came back after spending about six weeks on the disabled list and we thought it was only going to be a week. He got two hits the first two times up, drove in a couple runs; we were off to the races. Then he realized that [the team's trade with the Dodgers on Aug. 25] meant that we're not going to run this race and we're not even going to finish the race properly and he decided not to play anymore. I think at that time it was all downhill from there."
Whatever way you read it back, it would appear Valentine is throwing Ortiz under the proverbial bus. If that’s the case, it is a shocking move even by Valentine’s standards. As all Red Sox fans know, Ortiz is a proud man, and will not take these comments lightly. The manager versus player aspect will play itself out eventually, and Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe dissects it all knowledgeably here, however, there is another potential thread to this storyline that could come back to haunt Valentine.
The more eagle eyed of Sox fans will have noted how polite Valentine was as he was shown the door. He was throwing verbal bouquets at everyone and everything associated with the Sox, without as much of a snide aside tacked on. Not exactly the Valentine we became used to in his single, disastrous year at the helm of the good ship Fenway.
As it turned out, Valentine had to sign a ‘No mudslinging’ clause to his contract, meaning he couldn’t say anything bad about the club after leaving. The Red Sox front office possibly foresaw potential issues in the case they did have to jettison Valentine, and had the clause put in place. Valentine would not have got a cent of his millions of dollars of severance money had he not signed, and subsequently obeyed.
Here’s the thing, will the Red Sox see this rather obvious attack on Ortiz as an attack on Boston as a whole, and therefore a very clear break of Bobby’s contractual obligation not to slander his former club?
If he keeps this crap up, can Boston get their severance package back off of him?