On Bobby V's big interview

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On Bobby V's big interview

If you havent listened to Bobby Valentines interview from this afternoons Big Show, please do so right now. Come back when youre done. I promise to wait.

Now, a few highlights:

First of all, and be honest: Who amongst us hasnt at some point wanted to punch Glenn Ordway in the mouth? Speak now or never again criticize Valentines completely natural and understandable threat.

Second, putting aside the hysterics for a second, I think Valentine made a ton of sense in this interview.

His explanation for extending Alfredo Aceves workload (an act that was characterized as a vengeful attack on the pitchers well-being) was entirely sound.

He wasnt my closer at the time," Valentine said. Since Andrew Bailey has been back, weve been trying to stretch Alfredo out to see if we can lengthen, and general manager Ben Cherington and I talked about the possible chance of lengthening him out, to get more pitches thrown so that possibly if we needed a starter, he could jump into that rotation given our starting group is running a little thin. Is that a good reason for pitching him what would be 100 pitches in a game, I actually did it over that weeks span?

I agree with his stance that the beat guys who saw him get to the ballpark late in Oakland should have asked what the deal was especially if they planned on reporting it.

When I walked into the clubhouse with my son, the press was already in the clubhouse. You would think that one of these incompetent people would say, or ask a question, Hey, why is it 4 oclock . . . and, you know, 4 oclock, like thats so late for a 7:15 game. Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon gets there every day at 4 oclock, just for the record when I walked in and someone is going to write that, wouldnt you think that theyd say, Hey why is it that you just got to the ballpark? Youre usually here at 2. Why are you here today at 4? And I could have introduced them to my son, and explained to them about the flight that was delayed because of the fog, and that I was waiting at the San Francisco Airport and that his phone had died and I had no way of letting him know I wasnt going to be there.

OK, maybe its a little ridiculous that the son Valentine was waiting for at the airport is 29 years old; the kidman obviously could have made it to the stadium by himself. But at the same time, I get it. He wanted to be there for his son. And if what he said about Joe Maddon is true, then Valentine wasnt even late. (Although that doesn't change the fact that he has an unhealthy obsession with Maddon.)

He also shed light on some of the reasons he believes things went so wrong from the start this season. He makes it clear that he didn't really know what he was getting himself into, and that a lack communication within the organization made it far more difficult to grasp the situation. Which makes sense, because that exactly how it looked for those first few months.

When youre planning the game plan," he said, "you have to get the scouts' information and the players' information, medical information, coaches' information, and then get a game plan together. Unfortunately, when you do it on the fly, its hard to decipher where the good information comes from.

For almost 25 minutes, Valentine was completely honest with Holley and the Big O. Of course, he was also insanely defensive, combative and, at times, borderline loopy.

And you know what? I don't blame him.

Say what you will about Bobby V. The guy's certainly made his mistakes, and most likely deserves to be fired. But I don't know how anyone can stay sane working in that environment.

Can you imagine what it feels like to have a conversation with your GM, in which you decide to begin the process of converting a reliever into a starter and then everyone accuses you of trying to end the guy's career? Honestly, how psychotic is that?

Or to show up three hours before a game, and have everyone write about how you were late?

Can you imagine what it's like working under Larry Lucchino? Hell, Lucchino drove Theo Epstein so crazy that he ended up running away from Fenway Park in a gorilla suit.

Forget Bobby V., I don't see how anyone can do it. Or would want to. Not until a lot more than Josh Beckett's name plate is removed from Fenway Park.

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

MLB may make rule changes for '18 season

MLB may make rule changes for '18 season

PHOENIX - Major League Baseball intends to push forward with the process that could lead to possible rule changes involving the strike zone, installation of pitch clocks and limits on trips to the pitcher's mound. While baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred expressed hope the ongoing process would lead to an agreement, he said clubs would reserve the right to act unilaterally, consistent with the rule-change provision of the sport's labor contract.

Union head Tony Clark said last weekend he did not foresee players agreeing to proposed changes for 2017. Under baseball's collective bargaining agreement, management can alter playing rules only with agreement from the union - unless it gives one year notice. With the one year of notice, management can make changes on its own.

"Unfortunately it now appears that there really won't be any meaningful change for the 2017 season due to a lack of cooperation from the MLBPA," Manfred said Tuesday during a news conference. "I've tried to be clear that our game is fundamentally sound, that it does not need to be fixed as some people have suggested, and I think last season was the kind of demonstration of the potential of our league to captivate the nation and of the game's unique place in American culture."

Yet, he also added: "I believe it's a mistake to stick our head in the sand and ignore the fact that our game has changed and continues to change."

Manfred said while he prefers an agreement, "I'm also not willing to walk away." He said he will send a letter to the union in the coming days and plans to continue dialogue with Clark and others in hopes of reaching agreement.

Clark met with Cactus League teams last week, five at a time over Thursday, Friday and Saturday, before departing Monday for Florida to visit each Grapefruit League club - and proposed rules changes were a topic.

"I have great respect for the labor relations process, and I have a pretty good track record for getting things done with the MLBPA," Manfred said. "I have to admit, however, that I am disappointed that we could not even get the MLBPA to agree to modest rule changes like limits on trips to the mound that have little effect on the competitive character of the game."

Clark saw talks differently.

"Unless your definition of `cooperation' is blanket approval, I don't agree that we've failed to cooperate with the commissioner's office on these issues," he wrote in an email to The Associated Press. "Two years ago we negotiated pace of play protocols that had an immediate and positive impact. Last year we took a step backward in some ways, and this offseason we've been in regular contact with MLB and with our members to get a better handle on why that happened. I would be surprised if those discussions with MLB don't continue, notwithstanding today's comments about implementation. As I've said, fundamental changes to the game are going to be an uphill battle, but the lines of communication should remain open."

Clark added "my understanding is that MLB wants to continue with the replay changes (2-minute limit) and the no-pitch intentional walks and the pace of game warning/fine adjustments."

Manfred said he didn't want to share specifics of his priorities for alterations.

"There's a variety of changes that can be undertaken," Manfred said. "I'm committed to the idea that we have a set of proposals out there and we continue to discuss those proposals in private."

MLB has studied whether to restore the lower edge of the strike zone from just beneath the kneecap to its pre-1996 level - at the top of the kneecap. Management would like to install 20-second pitch clocks in an attempt to speed the pace of play - they have been used at Triple-A and Double-A for the past two seasons.

Players also have been against limiting mound meetings. The least controversial change appears to be allowing a team to call for an intentional walk without the pitcher having to throw pitches. In addition, MLB likely can alter some video review rules without the union's agreement- such as shortening the time a manager has to call for a review.

"Most of this stuff that they were talking about I don't think it would have been a major adjustment for us," Royals manager Ned Yost said.

Manfred said starting runners on second base in extra innings sounds unlikely to be implemented in the majors. The change will be experimented with during the World Baseball Classic and perhaps at some short-season Class A leagues. Manfred said it was a special-purpose rule "beneficial in developmental leagues."

Manfred also said Tuesday that a renovated Wrigley Field would be a great choice to host an All-Star Game and Las Vegas could be a "viable market for us."

"I don't think that the presence of legalized gambling in Las Vegas should necessarily disqualify that market as a potential major league city," Manfred said.