Valentine fired the first "shot" during a rather bizarre interview with Glenn Ordway and Michael Holley on WEEI's The Big Show after being questioned about showing up "late" to one of the Red Sox' recent games in Oakland. The Sox skipper arrived to the ballpark just three hours before that contest, which is later than he typically shows up -- something he says was the result of picking up his son at the airport. Valentine said he was "very, very disappointed and personally hurt" by the story, before then turning his attention to Maddon.
"When I walked into the clubhouse with my son, the press was already in the clubhouse," he said on The Big Show. "You would think that one of these incompetent people would say, or ask a question, 'Hey, why is it 4 o'clock…' -- and, you know, 4 o'clock, like that's so late for a 7:15 game. Joe Maddon gets there every day at 4 o'clock, just for the record -- when I walked in and someone is going to write that, wouldn't you think that they'd say, 'Hey, why is it that you just got to the ballpark? You're usually here at 2. Why are you here today at 4?'"
The primary intent of Valentine's rant probably wasn't to paint Maddon in a negative light, but it was interesting to hear him reference the Rays skipper directly, especially given the way in which he dropped the comment and the history between the two coaches. Considering everything else that was said in the interview, it'd be easy to overlook the subtle name drop, but it appears Maddon didn't let it fly under the radar.
Maddon issued the following tweet just after 5 p.m. on Wednesday (shortly after Valentine's interview).
"@RaysJoeMaddon: Apologies to the writers for being late to today's pregame session. My pedicure appointment ran a little late."
Talk about a typical Joe Maddon response. You can always count on him for some snarky, yet humorous comeback, and he certainly delivered in this instance. But that wasn't all that Maddon had to offer up when it came to taking subtle jabs at Valentine.
Maddon prefaced his pregame availability by jokingly apologizing to reporters, saying, "Sorry I'm late. I just got here." Then, the hits kept on coming.
"I'm very flattered by the whole thing," Maddon said of the situation with Valentine. "I think it's very amusing, that's all. Seriously, that's all. I'm amused by the moment, and it's flattering someone would include me in that conversation."
As mentioned, this isn't the first time the two managers have gone toe-to-toe, so to speak. Maddon fired off an emotional tweet earlier this season following a heated game in which Sox pitchers intentionally threw at Rays hitters. He called the ninth-inning happenings that night, "ridiculous, absurd, idiotic, incompetent, cowardly behavior."
That exchange back in May set the table for the managerial rivalry, but it appears neither one was done feasting.