Originally posted on The Baseball Page  |  Last updated 7/16/12

The moment a key player on a major league team tells reporters all's well in their clubhouse, you know trouble's brewing among the rank and file. Red Sox DH David Ortiz is telling reporters to "leave us alone and let us play play ball." ESPN baseball insider Buster Olney wrote recently that an "unhappiness" that exists among the Boston players and staff is multi-layered and deep." Olney writes the Red Sox clubhouse is "TOXIC." Red Sox players, and everyone else around Fenway Park deny the report's characterization of the clubhouse. That is, everyone except manager Bobby Valentine. It's funny that Ortiz is telling reporters to leave him and teammates alone yet it was Ortiz just before the All-Star break that complained to reporters that Red Sox management "disrespected" him when they wouldn't give him a multi-year contract for $14 million plus a season. They settled on a one year deal at $14.575 million. He sure didn't sound like a happy-camper during that exchange with New York reporters. This past Thursday, just before the start of baseball's second half of the season, Ortiz told reporters, "It's starting to become the s_ _ _ hole that it used to be, look around,bro. Playing here used to be so much fun, and now every day it's something new not even related to baseball." My question is, if there's no "turmoil", if the clubhouse is not "toxic," why is he using words like, "It's starting to become the s_ _ _ hole that it use to be" - why is he saying,"Look around, Bro, playing here "used" to be so much fun." Unless Ortiz, after 10 years being in Boston still has problems speaking our English language why is he using present tense language?

David Ortiz says he's fed up with reports that the Red Sox are a team in "turmoil" - "toxic." He's tired of what he calls Red Sox drama. What I also find strange about the likable Ortiz sounding off to reporters, he's one of the few players on the team pulling his weight. Overall he's hitting .313 with 18 homers and 49 RBI's. With last nights 5-3 loss to Tampa Boston's now tied for last place in the American League East Division with Toronto.

ESPN's Buster Olney, a sports writer with access to all corners of Fenway Park, is also a close friend of Ortiz. When he wrote the Red Sox were a "splintered" group with players and staff unhappy, Ortiz was clearly displeased with what Olney wrote. In fact Ortiz said if he wants to make such comments, why didn't he ask me a question first. " I run this (expletive) clubhouse right here" - Wait, what did Ortiz say? Did we hear that right? David Ortiz saying, "I run this (expetive) clubhouse!" I always believed the teams manager ran the clubhouse. Or if there's a team captain, they run the clubhouse (with the managers blessing)- I've never heard of a team's DH "running" the clubhouse. If what he claims is true I can understand the clubhouse being in "turmoil." Self "anointed" leadership positions within organization always cause problems.

If you really want to know a team's dynamics just pay attention to their body language during batting practice, keep an eye on their dugout during the game. Red Sox body language is "negative." You don't see many smiles. They're out on the field but not having much "fun." Is it a team in "turmoil?" I see a team of players who "don't care" about winning. Each with their own reasons for "quitting." Players ticked off that Kevin Youkilis was traded. Players ticked off that Valentine has put the knock on star hurlers like Beckett, Lester. Valentine call's them "under-achievers" this season, who can fault him for that statement? Still other players not happy with a manager who expects production from his high salaried players and is not afraid to rock boats.

I tend to believe what the ESPN insider writes about the Red Sox being in "turmoil." I also believe if David Ortiz "believes" he runs the clubhouse - then the clubhouse is "toxic."

I can name several others on the team that would dispute Ortiz clubhouse "king" status.

Unless the Red Sox can begin to win, climb out of the division cellar, make a run for a post season spot in the American League, they will continue to be in "turmoil" and they will self-destruct worse than they did last season.

Bobby Valentine doesn't manage teams so his players can have fun. His crew of 25 should know that by now. It's time his big salary players stop ********, get off the dam DL, return to playing, and begin earning their money.

Until they do it's a "TOXIC TEAM" a "TOXIC CLUBHOUSE"....................

Larry Upton
"Upton on Sports"-source:espn/worldwideleague/

 

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