Bobby vs. Youk: Does it matter?

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Bobby vs. Youk: Does it matter?

Happy Monday, everyone! But before we get too excited about the start of another sweaty work week, theres one very serious matter to attend to.

First of all, if there are children in the vicinity of your computer, you might want to cover their eyes and ears. If you have a panic room, even better. Lockem up!

OK, ready? Here we go:

So yesterday before the Red SoxRays game, Bobby Valentine was asked a series of questions about Kevin Youkilis.

Did his relationship with Youk affect the third basemans play? Did he feel that Youk had issues with him? Had he ever seen Youkilis naked in the clubhouse and if so, would he care to elaborate?

OK, I made that last one up, but at some point during the real Q&A Valentine unleashed a bomb, one that still has the world buzzing nearly 24 hours later, and here it is:

I think that the comment that I made early (in the season about Youkilis not being 'into it'), he made a big issue out of. And I don't think he ever wanted to get over it.

Woah!

Everyone all right? If so, its safe to take off the childrens blindfolds. We made it! But now weve got to deal with the aftermath. More specifically, one ginormous question:

Is this really a big deal?

Now obviously we all agree that Valentine should have kept his mouth shut. Regardless of how many questions he was asked or how desperate the media was to coax him into saying something stupid, he shouldnt have taken the bait. Instead, he should have known that whatever he said was going to be blown out of proportion and instead grabbed a page out of the Book of Belichick: Errrr, guys. Kevin Youkilis isnt on this team anymore. I only want to talk about the guys in our clubhouse. And that would have been that. We wouldnt be having this conversation.

But Bobby V. being Bobby V., he had to comment. And the Boston media being the Boston media, we had to overreact and turn it into big to-do. But is it? Is there anything in Valentines quote that we werent already aware of? Anything thats even remotely shocking or outlandish?

We already know that these guys dont like each other. We know that Bobby V. had every right to be upset with Youk in the spring. We know that Youk had every right to be upset over being called out. We know that Youk never got over it. It was obvious he never got over it. Its obvious that he still hasnt gotten over it. I mean, maybe he hasnt been as blatant about his dislike for Valentine in the media, but Im still waiting for Youks first interview from Chicago where he doesnt go out of his way to praise the White Sox coaching staff. Thats not an accident.

And to borrow another line from the BoB: It is what it is. This happens all the time. Sometimes people dont like each other. So lets just let them not like each other. After all, Youk doesnt even play here anymore. In terms of how it affects this team, Valentines shaky relationship with Kevin Youkilis is about as relevant as his relationship with Joe Maddon, Buster Olney and non-robot umpires. Whatever.

Instead, let's talk about the fact that the Sox had a solid start to the second half. Sure, it could have been better, but well take two out of three in Tampa. Theres no shame in beating Jeremy Hellickson and James Shields. Not to mention, Jacoby Ellsburys back, and with three hits yesterday, is already getting comfortable. Carl Crawford will be back tonight, and even if youre not drowning in optimism over what he might bring to this team, you never know. For some reason, there are a lot of people around here who take offense to mentioning that despite all their struggles, the Red Sox are still in the playoff hunt, but Im not one of them. I have no problem pleasantly pointing out that the Sox are only 1.5 games out of a playoff spot.

But more than anything, in terms of tonight, and regardless of what was said before yesterday's game, let's celebrate Kevin Youkilis' time in Boston.

Of course, not the last few months, or even the last two years. I think we've all just accepted that no one was at their best during those times, and that we're better off forgetting the immediate past and focusing on all the good times. That there's no reason to make it about the BS that's existed between Youk and his manager or Youk and his teammates. That tonight, it should only be about one thing: Youk and the fans.

And we'll feel that tonight when he takes the plate for the first time.

In those 15, 20 or who knows, 30 seconds, we'll all remember how much he meant to this city, and how little Bobby Valentine's super-important and controversial quote means to anything.

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

Merloni: Pablo Sandoval is the key to the bottom of Red Sox order

Merloni: Pablo Sandoval is the key to the bottom of Red Sox order

The guys on The Baseball Show discuss Pablo Sandoval lighting it up in spring training and if he could continue that in the regular season.

Sale hurls five shutout innings, Sandoval has two hits as Sox romp, 7-2

Sale hurls five shutout innings, Sandoval has two hits as Sox romp, 7-2

Chris Sale threw five shutout innings and Pablo Sandoval continued his torrid spring with two more hits as the Red Sox routed the Twins, 7-2, Sunday at the Twins' Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers.

Red Sox-Twins box score

Sale allowed six hits, with one walk and six strikeouts, in his 91-pitch outing. Manager John Farrell had told reporters before the game that Sale was scheduled to throw between 95 and 100 pitches. He has 26 strikeouts and 2 walks in 21 spring-training innings.

Sandoval lifted his exhibition average to .370 with a 2-for-3 performance, which included a double.

The Red Sox also got home runs from Christian Vazquez, Andrew Benintendi and Steve Selsky as they rallied from a 1-0 deficit with three runs in the seventh inning and four in the eighth.