Ozzie and Bobby Kick Off April With Media MisstepsApril 18th, 2012It’s only late April and the Mea Culpas are already piling up. I don’t need to give you the background, you know the stories by now, but I found myself wondering this morning, whose ill advised words were worse this month, Ozzie Guillen’s or Bobby Valentine’s?From strictly an offensive standpoint clearly Ozzie Guillen is the winner. What I want to know though, is whose comments most negatively impact the organization he represents and its fan base? Which was the greater managerial offense?I am an empathic person, I try to put myself in other people’s shoes and see things their way. But at the same time I don’t muster up fake emotion and pretend to be outraged by a comment that didn’t directly offend me. I don’t know what it was like to hear the manager of a baseball team that plays in a city like Miami say he loves the dictator of Cuba. Neither I nor any of my closest family or friends has suffered under Castro’s reign. I can imagine though how I might have felt. I could see myself joining the protests, boycotting games or calling upon management for the firing of a man who made such a horrible, irresponsible comment. I would be equally offended by a lame 5 game suspension, which equates to roughly 3% of the regular season. I’ve said some dumb things during my career and put my foot in my mouth more than once. I was also in my 20’s, young and thought I knew it all. At some point though you grow up and become more responsible. This is especially important when you’re the centerpiece of an entire organization. This was supposed to be a crucial time for the citizens of Miami and the Marlins. They got the stadium built, albeit with some taxpayer controversy. They were supposed to be making a connection with the community, coming together, engaging their largely Latino and Hispanic population. I’m a believer in second chances, it’s part of what makes our country great. I also believe in accountability, and I’m not sure that has been satisfied yet. This is truly in the hands of the fans. They make the final decision on forgiveness and they do so by how they choose to support their team and their new ballpark. Ozzie Guillen’s counterpart to the extreme north also dipped his hand in the slip of the tongue cookie jar this week and the fun began earlier than expected in Boston. The Bobby Valentine/Kevin Youkilis flap really exposed me for the hypocrite I am. I strongly dislike gossip. I can’t stand to look at the covers of the People, US and magazines like them at the grocery store checkout line. I hate that my daughter has to see those garbage tabloids plastered in her face while we buy milk. But I’m not going to lie, when Bobby made those comments about Kevin Youkilis this weekend and then Dustin Pedroia followed up I was looking forward to what was coming next.You and I know Bobby Valentine. He has a way with words, he can make a statement and leave you wondering if it was an intentional jab at someone or just a misunderstood sentence. His is the Godfather of passive aggressive. It’s a talent, God given as only Domingo Ayala could best explain, and he knows how to use.Now you may call me ignorant here, and in full disclosure I did play for Bobby, but when I first heard his words on radio I thought it was classic Bobby, subtlety sending a message. Then I saw him speak them again on television and I wasn’t so sure. At first I thought he was calling out Youkilis’ preparation and commitment. And I also wondered if he was taking a shot at The Greek God of Walks and Moneyball concepts when he indicated his OBP was on the rise, despite the low batting average. But as I watched him say the words I wondered if he really wasn’t going for the message that we all first thought. Quite possibly it wasn’t a loaded statement and just some words used and interpreted wrongly. Don’t laugh, I actually think that is possible. Problem is this is Boston and it doesn’t matter what he intended, the statement opened the door and those doors don’t get closed or ever forgotten in a place like Boston. Dustin Pedroia, never one to mince words, was asked about Bobby’s statement on Youkilis. Not surprisingly he jumped in to defend his long time teammate. He said a few things but none more eyebrow raising then this: “I don’t really understand what Bobby’s trying to do, but that’s really not the way we go about our stuff here. I’m sure he’ll figure that out soon.”Rut-roh. There’s a lot to unpack here but to me the biggest statement by Pedroia translated to “you’re not one of us yet, we’ve been here longer than you, we’ve won together, we’ve lost together, we’ve made a special bond not only with each other but with this fan base, you haven’t earned it yet, watch what you say.”The apologies came both private and public but the damage was done. Boston fans love Kevin Youkilis and Dustin Pedroia and most will follow their lead. The bigger underlying issue to me is that players talk, those that are unhappy will grumble to each other, the manager could easily lose the clubhouse. When that happens only one thing can mask that kind of dysfunction, winning and winning big. If The Red Sox struggle this season, miss the playoffs or get eliminated early it could be ugly again in Beantown. Whether intended or not Bobby dug himself a little hole here and it will take all of his magic to get out of it, certainly possible. I scoffed at Curt Schilling’s recent comments about how there is dissension in the Red Sox clubhouse over Bobby already. I also got a good laugh out of Josh Beckett’s response. Quite possibly though, maybe Schilling was right. From strictly a baseball standpoint I suppose you might like me to tell you who was the worst offender between Ozzie and Bobby. I have my opinion, but what matters most is yours.