Former KC Royals players Billy Butler and Danny Valencia’s clubhouse battle with the A’s took a more serious turn when the A’s put Butler on the 15-day disabled list with a concussion. Word has it the the fight started when Butler told a shoe rep that he should cancel their deal with Valencia.
This report comes from San Francisco Chronicle reporter Susan Slusser. Slusser got the story from two A”s players who insisted on remaining anonymous because they didn’t want to appear to be taking sides.
According to these two players, an equipment company representative spotted an off brand of spikes in Danny Valencia‘s locker. Valencia asserted that he only wore them in warm-ups and not in games. However, Billy Butler refuted that claim and suggested that the shoe rep needed to cancel their contract with Valencia.
Valencia then told Butler:
"“Don’t you ever loud-talk me in front of a rep. That was wrong,” and walked aggressively toward Butler."
Butler took a few steps toward Valencia and replied:
"“I can say whatever I want and your bitch ass isn’t going to do anything about it.”"
One witness said that the two started bumping and pushing one another, when Valencia starting swinging and landed a shot to Butler’s temple. After the two players broke up the scuffle, Butler asserted he was OK.
To me, the obvious question is were they taking sides in favor of Danny Valencia? Or, were they just responding to the initial reports which seemed to make Danny Valencia the bad guy? That’s hard to say, because we don’t have much else besides uncertain reports to go on. We don’t have tone, body english, or much context.
At the end of her piece, Slusser added this quote from one of her sources:
"“Those two go at it every day, so in that way, it was pretty normal,” one player said. “If Bill had dropped it, Danny never would have done anything. But he kind of kept egging him on. I think it’s fair to say he was verbally provoked, very much so. I’m worried about what might happen to Danny now, but at the same time, you don’t want to see anyone get hurt.”"
This quote sounds like the incident is more about two players who regularly rag one another, and it just got out of hand. Heck, I’ve squabbled with my sister, my closet friends, and relatives. I think most of us have taken razzing too far and gotten angry at people we normally like. That’s what the above statement sounds like to me.
Of course, one player hitting another hard enough to miss games with a concussion is taking things way too far. But, it does show that baseball players are human beings. Put 25 aggressive, proud professionals who have worked hard to play at the highest level aren’t always going to write love letters to one another every day for nearly eight months.