There’s an old saying to the effect that it is better to be silent and have people wonder how dumb you are than open your mouth and eliminate all doubt.
That’s the first thing that came to mind when I heard about remarks made by former NY Mets manager Bobby Valentine concerning the rival Yankees receiving more credit for their post-9/11 work in the community than his team.
From Andrew Marchand via ESPN, Valentine was quoted as saying on a WFAN program:
“Let it be said that during the time from 9/11 to 9/21, the Yankees were [AWOL],” Valentine said on WFAN. “You couldn’t find a Yankee on the streets of New York City. You couldn’t find a Yankee down at Ground Zero, talking to the guys who were working 24/7.”
He added: “Many of them didn’t live here, and so it wasn’t their fault. And many of them did not partake in all that, so there was some of that jealousy going around [among Mets players]. Like, ‘Why are we so tired? Why are we wasted? Why have we been to the funerals and the firehouses, and the Yankees are getting all the credit for bringing baseball back?’ And I said, ‘This isn’t about credit, guys. This is about doing the right thing.’ “
The insinuation that the Yankees didn’t do as much as the Mets is bad enough, but if Valentine is using the “fact” that the Mets were “tired” and “wasted” by their humanitarian efforts as an excuse for not finishing better than third place in the NL East that season, that’s really low. Someone should inform him that the second-highest form of charity is that the donor and receiver not know each other. Kind of difficult when you’re a celebrity like a pro athlete, but you do the best you can not to draw attention. Be a mensch and show some humility.
And if it isn’t about credit, why is he even bringing this up now? Has this been percolating for the past 10-plus years, a thorn in Valentine’s side? Has Valentine missed being in the spotlight since being fired from his terrible performance as manager of the Boston Red Sox last year?
Now I’m now Yankee fan at all, but I think I’m siding with Buster Olney’s point of view, since he covered the team at the time.
Reading this one now: Baseball After 9/11: Six Nights That Helped Heal America