The Cubs and Cardinals were featured on Sunday Night Baseball last night from Wrigley. With Orel Hershiser at the LLWS, it was just Dan Shulman and Bobby Valentine in the booth. In the top of the 7th inning, with the Cards leading 6-2, Bobby Valentine brought up Cubs All-Star shortstop Starlin Castro daydreaming in the infield. Mentioning this and saying that Castro needs to learn to be on his toes would be one thing... but Bobby V didn't stop there, no. He then went on a SEVEN MINUTE rant about the Cubs All-Star, including some rather harsh comments. A big thanks to Clubhouse Cancer for uploading and sending us the video...
"He needs to learn the game and play it properly."
"If those things are allowed to exist, then a cancer will form within the team."
"It's like a math genius coming into your geometry class and knowing that he understands math and he's going to learn a new level of math while you're teaching him geometry. The major leagues is a new level of baseball. This young man has great talent, he knows how to play the game, but he doesn't know how to play the major league game."
Yes, Bobby Valentine said that a 21 year old shortstop who leads the National League in hits doesn't know how to play the major league game. Does Bobby V make a good point about Castro's defense - yes. His 21 errors leads the National League, but is it really worth a seven minute rant to talk about what Castro is doing before the pitch? Does Bobby V need to rip Castro for eating sunflower seeds? Is it worth insinuating he's a cancer or that he "doesn't know how to play the major league game?" No. For some reason, Dan Shulman or someone in the truck wanted this conversation to carry on for the entirety of the half inning, which was overkill to the extreme.
The Cubs definitely have a problem with cancers in the clubhouse, but is Starlin Castro one of them? The kid is 21 years old and is clearly the best player on a team that has a lot of bigger problems to worry about. Valentine's point would be valid if this video had stopped after a minute, but this rant was excessive and creates silly headlines like "Valentine says Castro doesn't know how to play Major League Baseball." Consider all of this serious analysis about playing the right way in the majors is also coming from a guy who wore a fake mustache in the dugout.
Which brings us to Bobby V and his announcing. Many observers on Twitter believed he was shamelessly positioning himself for future consideration as the Cubs' new manager throughout last night's broadcast. Valentine's announcing has been largely regarded as a failed experiment in the Sunday night booth. He's an interesting personality, but hasn't been a good fit for baseball fans as a game analyst. In fact, we've had several Tweets throughout the season saying he's actually worse than Joe Morgan! High praise, indeed. It will be interesting to see if ESPN admits failure in their primetime baseball slot after only a season and goes in a different direction next year.