There is no player in Major League Baseball that I despise more than Jose Valverde.
If you have not caught his caught his act, it is a lot like watching a very hammy and awful lounge singer in pink sequins. With the every out he prances around the mound in as if somebody in the Tigers locker room slathered his jock strap with itching powder.
He is in, more than a few words, a overweight slob and a hot dog without an ounce of genuine professionalism. You want an example?
How about this quote: “(Justin) Verlander has it [Monday]. Next day, have the celebration in Detroit – 100 percent. The Yankees have a good team, but I think that’s it for them.”
Now some in the Detroit media are passing it off as if Valverde were joking in order to tamp down any potential harm may come if the prediction does not come true. But the fact is Valverde has been baiting opposing teams and hitters for years with his tired act on the mound.
Closers with class walk off the mound and take congratulations from their teammates. They don’t contort themselves and gyrate like they never have a retired a major-league hitter in their life.
But “Valveeta” (I will call him from now on because his act all cheese and them some) took it to a whole new level on Monday night. Not content with the fact that he was a few pitches close to being pulled from the game in favor of left-hander Phil Coke, Valveeta had to go way over the line in professionalism.
In the ninth, after retiring Nick Swisher, our rotund frankfurter walked Jorge Posada. Then he allowed pinch-runner Eduardo Nunez to steal second easily. The next batter, Russell Martin, came within a few choice feet of real estate in right-field of putting the Yankees ahead by a run against this supposedly unshakeable closer.
Then the man French’s could use in an ad campaign, continued to walk the tightrope (which is tough to do when your off-season training regimen consists of lifting Budweisers by the caseload to your gullet), walked No. 9 hitter Brett Gardner on four straight pitches.
Manager Jim Leyland had Coke throwing hard and fast in the bullpen because he had seen this same thing before when Valveeta pitched the ninth on Sunday at Yankee Stadium.
Valveeta then got ahead of Derek Jeter with two quick strikes. As most closers would do in this situation, you would want to waste a pitch outside and maybe get Jeter to chase. That is what most closers would not do. Not Valveeta.
He decides that he needs to intimidate Jeter and he buzzes him with a pitch that was not only up and in, but was sailing directly for his noggin.
Now in baseball, there is an unwritten rule that there is nothing wrong with throwing inside. Heck, when Martin was hit with a pitch by Verlander in the seventh, I had absolutely no issue with it.
You also have a right, if you wish, to attempt to throw at someone. That is all part of the game.
But there is also an unwritten rule that you do not aim for someone’s head, particularly when it is someone like Jeter.
If it was A-Rod or Barry Bonds, I could maybe see the reasoning. It still would be a bush league tactic. But, at least I would understand the motivation of this degenerate a–hole.
However, Jeter is the symbol in baseball of a genuine professional. He plays the game right and he has never done anything in his entire career to show up another player or brought anything but class to the game.
But Senor Valveeta thinks it is the only way he can win and, after all, that is the bottom line. It is not how you play the game. It is just that you got to win, right?
You better be careful where you tread, Valveeta. Karma can be a female dog. A “caliente” female dog.
I am not saying that the Yankees might retaliate on Tuesday night, I am saying they will retaliate on Tuesday. It is only a question of when and to whom.
Knowing the Tigers and how Leyland thinks, he would probably have his starter Rick Porcello plunk a Yankees hitter in the first inning to see if he can get the umpires to issue a warning early. But umpires are usually loathe to issue a warning, especually in a playoff game, before a second incident occurs.
The Yankees thus have one shot at this and they better make it a good one. I am not talking CC Sabathia’s polite fastball to David Ortiz’s hindquarters either. I am talking an A.J. Burnett riding fastball, inside and head high, to Miguel Cabrera. He probably will be so tanked up on Jose Cuervo he would not feel it anyway.
It is just too bad that Valveeta does not play in the National League where pitchers bat. Of course, he knows that closers don’t bat so he hides behind that fact like a little boy scrambling behind a mother’s skirt.
He is gutless, classless and revolting.
Other than that, I have no issue the hot dog.
Do not be surprised if this all wakes up the Yankees and brings them back into the series. Mr. Valvetta may regret the can of worms he opened. Maybe he thought he was opening another can of beer!