|All this clown needs a pair of big shoes and a red nose.|
Valentine's exact comments to Evan Roberts and Joe Benigno on WFAN radio Wednesday:
"Let it be said that during the time from 9/11 to 9/21, the Yankees were (not around). 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.”
"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. 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.’”1
Valentine has been controversial in the past and loves to draw attention to himself, but this time he stepped beyond the bounds of good taste. I'm not a fan of Levine, but he deftly handled Valentine's comments, which of course Valentine could not leave alone.
Levine's statement to Newsday:
It’s very sad that Bobby Valentine would pick this day. This is a day for reflection and prayer. The Yankees have always remembered the heroes of 9/11 and continue to do so. What Bobby Valentine should understand is that nobody wants to hear about his opinion as to who does what better. He should be silent and remember.”
“This is not the day to point fingers at anybody. This is a day to reflect. Moreover, since he only thinks about himself, he must have forgotten when the Yankees visited Ground Zero, St. Vincent’s Hospital, the Armory, the Javits Center, where rescue crews were working.”2
Valentine responded to Newsday in an email:
"Sorry, I must have missed that. If it was between the 11th and the 20th (of September) it was my mistake. I might have missed it. I will follow Randy’s lead and be silent.”
Did anyone think Valentine would be silent? The mouth that roared then went on NBC Sports Radio and stuck his other foot in his mouth.
“I don’t know if I was trying to take credit for the team. I was trying to make a fact, that 12 years of hearing what was done and (hearing) it reported incorrectly, I just thought I’d speak for the record that, that week, there weren’t any Yankees out there. And if there were, Mr. Levine can just come up with a photograph of somebody at a firehouse or a funeral or at someone’s house.
“All I remember is people asking for the Yankees and me making excuses for them not being there.” 3The New York Daily News' Mark Feinsand, then with mlb.com wrote this after talking to Joe Torre on the 5th anniversary of 9/11:
"After the workout, Joe Torre, Bernie Williams, Derek Jeter and other members of the Yankees visited the rescue staging area at the Javits Center, the Armory and St. Vincent's Hospital, though they were unsure of the roles they were supposed to play. Most of the people they were set to encounter had either lost loved ones or were holding out hope that their family members would emerge from the disaster from five days earlier."
"At the Armory, I felt very uncomfortable, like we needed someone to go in and test the waters to see if we had any right being there," Torre said. "One family looked up at us, and with their eyes, asked us to come closer. I remember Bernie going up to someone and saying, 'I don't know what to say, but you look like you need a hug.' That was probably the most emotional part of the whole thing."
"My role in the world seemed very insignificant; I hit a ball for a living," Williams said. "There are people out there who have great jobs that impact people in a way I could never imagine, and it took this incident to realize what kind of impact I actually did have, just by playing for the Yankees."
Jeter remembers feeling uncomfortable during the trip downtown, but he knew that, despite his own feelings, it was a trip he had to take.
"What do you say to someone who just lost a family member?" Jeter said. "It made you feel good, though, because there were people who were happy to see us. It put a smile on some faces, so I was glad we were able to go." 4