When Jose Valverde was signed, I was a bit concerned over his dancing antics in Houston. Call me old school if you will, but I don't like it when hitters show up pitchers, and I don't like it when pitchers show up hitters. Relievers seem to be the worst at this. And the logic is pretty simple: They're in high-stress situations and showing emotion is only natural.
But when is emotion too much?
So like I said, I thought I'd find Valverde rather distasteful.
A funny thing happened when I got to see him in action (seemingly) daily. I'm not bothered by it at all. And I really don't think opposing teams (and especially their fans) should be all that bothered it either.
When he got A-Rod swinging for the final out of the game, he did a couple of jumping fist pumps that would make the 2007 version of Joba Chamberlain blush. Not sure if this is par for the course for him, but it was pretty annoying to watch after how close the Yanks came to stealing this one back.
Notable, of course, is that the Yanks didn't come close to anything coming out of the hand of Valverde. I'm sure that added to it.
However, Valverde told Kornacki:
“I know (other) guys who do crazy stuff on the mound,” Valverde said before Tuesday night’s game was rained out. “It’s normal. I’m excited and have enjoyed my game all my life.”
Valverde said not one opponent has ever said a single thing to him about his mound gyrations and unbridled displays of enthusiasm. He said it’s not intended or pointed at opponents.
“I do nothing for the other team,” Valverde said. “Everything is for my team, my fans and me.”
Yankee Nick Swisher confirmed that, saying he was madder at himself for striking out than anything else. I don't think the other Yankees seemed all that offended either.
“That’s what I was mad about. For all I know, he’s a great guy. Why should I be upset at him?"
For that matter, I haven't noticed any opponent really seem all that annoyed by Valverde's actions after recording an out, either.
As for me, I've come to realize why Astros fans like Valverde so much. He's actually quite endearing. He is a far better pitcher than the Tigers have had in the ninth inning in the past, and he's pretty entertaining to boot. And, if he wants to turn around and give a little thanks to whoever he chooses after an out, why should anyone care?
So I'm OK with The Big Potato.
How about you?