Bobby Valentine's Red Sox are four games below .500 and 13.5 games… (Patrick McDermott / Getty…)
It was a volatile mix to begin with, opinionated and outspoken Bobby Valentine managing a club coming off a highly disappointing and turbulent 2011 season in a city with a rabid media and fan base.
And now it has blown up in the face of the Boston Red Sox with the gory details of a July 26 player mutiny exposed by Yahoo Sports.
Several players, including Adrian Gonzalez and Dustin Pedroia, reportedly blasted Valentine to owners John Henry and Larry Lucchino and lobbied for a change, the last straw coming when Valentine left popular left-hander Jon Lester in to give up 11 runs in a July 22 loss to Toronto.
Ownership, perhaps leery of a perception the inmates are running the asylum, continues to support Valentine despite the underachieving and expensive ($173-million payroll) team's record and division deficit.
General Manager Ben Cherington even gave Valentine a vote of confidence, saying that "Bobby is our manager, and we're not considering anyone else." Of course, that and $2.85 will get you a Venti Nonfat Misto at Starbucks.
These things rarely work out for the manager, as New York Mets skipper Terry Collins can attest. When news leaked that the Angels were going to extend Collins' contract in June 1999, about 10 players complained to then-GM Bill Bavasi about Collins' abrasive style. Bavasi went ahead with a two-year extension.
By the end of that tension-filled season, Collins and Bavasi were gone, which is what Valentine will probably be come October.
Hold your applause
San Francisco outfielder Melky Cabrera was praised by many Wednesday for taking full responsibility for his 50-game suspension, for not blaming his positive test on a tainted supplement or mishandling by a FedEx driver.
But it should also be noted that on July 27, when confronted by CSNBayArea.com reporter Andrew Baggarly about the possibility of a failed test, Cabrera vehemently denied the rumor, even suggesting that Dodgers fans may have made it up as a distraction.
A league official confirmed to Baggarly on Wednesday that Cabrera "absolutely knew" at the time he had failed a drug test and was going through the appeals process.
Baggarly wrote a public apology to Cabrera on July 28 for "giving voice" to the rumor by writing about it and knocking it down. There has been no such apology from Cabrera to Baggarly.
Sticking to his guns
Despite Washington's major league-best record, GM Mike Rizzo will not waver from his decision to shut down Stephen Strasburg, in his first year back from major elbow surgery, when the right-hander reaches a certain threshold, believed to be in the 160-inning range.
"I know it may stain my reputation or my career — there's no way it can ever be proved if I was right," Rizzo told the Washington Post. "But I'm hardheaded. The decision was made five months ago because it was the best decision for Stephen and the Nationals. And nothing is going to change it."