If McGregor-Diaz this past weekend was the fight everyone wanted, the Oakland A’s Valencia-Butler is the fight NOBODY wanted.
This wasn’t one of those epic base brawls in the middle of the field after some nasty takeout slide or 2-seamer to the kidney. This was two dudes, standing in the middle of the clubhouse, throwing haymakers. Well, one dude, landing one haymaker.
And all because Billy Butler ratted out teammate Danny Valencia to an equipment rep for wearing the wrong spikes.
Where’s that written in baseball’s code? I’m not sure. But I know where it’s written in the bro code: “snitches get stitches.”
Well, not in the A’s clubhouse. In there, snitches get PUNCHED in THE HEAD.
Here’s how the scene went down. An equipment rep asked Valencia about a pair of off-brand spikes he had in his locker. Valencia said he only wears them during BP and pregame workouts. That’s when Butler chimed in and told the rep that Valencia was lying, rocks those kicks regularly, and that the company should drop Valencia!
Predictably, Valencia confronted Butler later by saying “Don’t you ever loud talk me in front of a rep. That was wrong.” To which Billy Butler, whose nickname is COUNTRY BREAKFAST, turned around and responded with… “I can say whatever I want and your b— ass isn’t going to do anything about it.”
Except Valencia DID do something about it. Right there. The two grown-ass men started shoving each other and Valencia went Rougned Odor upside Butler’s head. Right in the temple. Not hard enough to knock him out, but hard enough to sideline him for the next two games. Concussion. Thanks for coming.
How you like them eggs, Country Breakfast?
Listen, Butler potentially cost his own teammate upwards of $20 grr. I’m never going to condone someone solving a problem with their fists instead of their words, but I can see where Valencia was going. And pretty much so can everyone else.
You don’t do what Butler did. Ratting him out to a sponsor is potentially taking money off Valencia’s table and you had to know there was a good chance Valencia was going to try to take a few teeth out of Butler’s head. I’m no expert on “the code,” but I’m pretty sure ratting out your teammate to sponsors is on the bad list, somewhere between flipping your bat and don’t work the count when you’re up by 10 or down by 10.
And it’s pretty telling that Eric Hosmer, Coco Crisp, and Yonder Alonso, three guys who’ve played with both players, had Valencia’s back on Twitter.
I’m still waiting for the first tweet to come out backing big ol’ Country Breakfast. And probably will for a long time because no one likes a rat. Or a tattle-tale.
Then, the team went through that awkward but predictable dance where they make it sound like this kinda thing happens ALL the time.
“It’s not the first time guys have gotten in a fight in the clubhouse,” A’s GM David Forst said. “Unfortunately, when we’re having the kind of season we’re having, it’s a big story. If we were winning, it would be colorful, but we’re not.”
Actually, one player trying to break another player’s face over a pair of cleats is anything but colorful. It’s stupid.
And really, this is just the next thing in Oakland. This comes on the heels of Coco Crisp accusing the A’s of benching him so his $13 million option for 2017 won’t be exercised.
And just weeks after the A’s players found a HIDDEN CAMERA installed in the team weight room by the strength and conditioning coach.
Dudes fighting over shoes. Strength coaches going HIDDEN CAMERA on the team’s weight room? I must’ve missed this part of the Moneyball movie — did they have a deleted scene where Jonah Hill and Brad Pitt talked about spying on guys to make sure they’re getting their bicep curls in? Or when Barry Zito and Jason Giambi brawled when Zito had the nerves to trot out for B.P wearing Adidas?
Just a bizarre story. And what a horrible atmosphere it must be in that clubhouse… They’ve gotta be counting down the days until this nightmare is over.
37 more games, boys…