Starlin Castro, the young, hopeful face of the Cubs franchise this season, pissed off Bobby Valentine in a game against the Cardinals last night, and nothing good came out of it—unless you have a general appreciation for seven-minute rants on five-second occurrences in the middle of your baseball broadcast.
Castro, the 21-year-old wunderkind from the Dominican Republic, kicked at some dirt and stood upright during a St. Louis at-bat in the sixth inning, and Valentine declared it "absolutely inexcusable at the Major League level." It was a "teaching moment," he said, and then went off on an on-air "teaching moment" that some suspect has more to do with his own managerial campaign than it has to do with criticizing Castro's ability.
But more offensive than the length of the rant (Dan Shulman encouraged him for about half an inning) was the basic banality of the criticism. Over at Awful Announcing, Matt Yoder points out that some have even compared Valentine to Joe Morgan this year. He's not helping himself: "Those type of, 'I don't care what's going on, I'll put some seeds in my ear when—in my mouth I'm supposed to be getting set for the ball, I won't be in the right cutoff position,'" Valentine said at one point, and added, "If those things are allowed to exist, it forms a cancer within the team."
The cancer, apparently, has nothing to do with the general manager who was just forced to step down, nothing to do with the pitching that gave up
threefour home runs, and everything to do with the first major leaguer born in the nineties. The cancer is a 21-year-old who can't get on his toes like a Little League World Series player and who doesn't have his glove on when the opposing batter's not even set to swing, because he's chewing on a seed. ("The sunflower seed thing," Mike Quade said post-game, "guys stay loose with sunflower seeds or whatever.")
In his May cover story on Castro, Albert Chen wrote that because he "has been so good, so soon, it's easy to forget that he's still only as old as your average college junior." We're lucky to have hacks like Valentine to remind us of that fact.
Bobby Valentine Goes On A Seven Minute Rant Against Starlin Castro [Awful Announcing]