Someone please tell Bobby Valentine that what is happening to his Boston Red Sox is nothing close to the Pacquiao vs. Bradley debacle.
Officiating is not the reason the Red Sox have a firm grip on last place in the American League East.
Valentine has to stop talking about umpires, and he has to stop fast.
Before Monday’s game against the Miami Marlins, Valentine’s comments about the umpires devolved into a rant.
According to Matt Porter of ESPN, Valentine said the following about umpires:
They're humans. We're asking humans to do a feat a human can't do. I don't know how to do it. I know you can do it. It's 2012, Maybe it should start in Little League. Start it so the kid doesn't go home crying and not want to play our game again because of this thing that happened, and it's happening thousands of times a day. I think it's a flaw. I'm not talking about what happened this weekend, or what's going to happen tonight. I know it's part of the game, but I say it shouldn't be.
I don't know how the Internet works. How about a fax? How about putting a thing in a machine and it showing up in Europe? If they can do that, they can figure out how to call a strike and a ball. Are you kidding me? That isn't tough. It's whether or not they want to do it.
So, Valentine clearly has a problem with umpires. But he should not say it out loud. The big reason is because it gives his players an excuse for losing.
To be fair, there have been numerous questionable calls against the Red Sox recently, according to The Herald News.
But Patriots fans should remember the famous Bill Parcells saying, “If you give your team an excuse to lose, they'll take it” (via WEEI).
The last thing this team needs right now is an easy way out.
Let’s get to the big reason the Red Sox are losing: hitting.
Over the last seven days, the Red Sox are close to last place in almost every offensive category in the American League. They are batting .226, have scored 24 runs and only have 76 total bases. They are tied with the Kansas City Royals for last place in home runs with three.
The umpires have nothing to do with that.
Kevin Youkilis even has gone so far to consider certain umpires just do not like him.
Is Bobby Valentine justified with his complaints about umpires?
During Monday’s game against the Marlins, Youkilis was not happy with a few called strikes from home plate umpire Ron Kulpa.
When asked about Kulpa, Youkilis told the Boston Herald:
Did you see the first pitch that was called on one of my at-bats? That’s twice. There was a 1-0 pitch, the ball was inside, he called it a strike, changes the whole at-bat. Called another pitch on me that I thought was horrible. One was a ball at a big part of the game, the other one was a guy showing he doesn’t like me at all. So, what are you going to do?
The trend of complaining about umpires even has a grip on Dustin Pedroia.
After being swept the Nationals over the weekend, Pedroia told reporters:
We're trying to compete -- every one is, both teams -- and you don't want [the umps] to come into play and stuff like that. It's hard enough playing the game against good pitching and good players. It was pretty disappointing (NESN).
Adrian Gonzalez got in on the action, too. Per Didier Morais of NESN.com, Gonzalez sarcastically told reporters, "The umps have been great all year, that's all I have to say."
Youkilis, Pedroia and Gonzalez seem to have a defeatist attitude right now, and the one person who should be squashing it has become the ring leader.
It seems the Red Sox are entering games feeling defeated before the first pitch is even thrown. That attitude starts at the top—it starts with Valentine.
Complaining about the umpires does nothing to put wins in the win column. In fact, the Red Sox are 3-7 over the last 10 games. They are 6.5 games behind the first place Yankees.
Valentine has broken a Parcells golden rule. He has given his team an excuse to lose, and his players are running with it.