Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia said on The Big Show on Tuesday that he regrets the way he criticized then-manager Bobby Valentine early last season over Valentine's comments about struggling infielder Kevin Youkilis.
Pedroia said that after his now-infamous "That's not how we go about our stuff here" comment, he became aware that fans weren't always on his side as they were in past years.
"I started to get aware of it during the year and it was tough," he said. "Looking back on it, I've had time to think about what I said, and the way everything went down. I regret that I said that in that way, but I'm proud in that to be a team leader, you need to have your teammates' backs under any circumstances.
"I didn't talk to Bobby after he said it, so I didn't know in what manner he meant his comments towards Youk, but I'm a firm believer in when a guy's having a tough time -- and everyone has, this is the major leagues, everyone's going to go through ups and downs -- those are the times when you need your teammates, you need everybody in the front office, you need the fans. We need [everyone] to stick by us, and I felt like Youk was kind of thrown into a corner by himself. When the top dog comes down on you that hard, I felt like Youk needed someone to be there for him to have his back."
Pedroia admitted that he understood why fans reacted unfavorably to his comments, but noted that his priority as a team leader was to defend Youkilis.
"Without question, it came out wrong," he said. "I'll be the first one to tell you it sounded like I feel like I'm high and mighty and I'm trying to run everything. Everybody who knows me [knows] that's not the case. I just wanted to make sure I was there for Youk and our whole team was there for Youk and we needed him to be who he is for us to accomplish our goal. Kicking him when he's down, I felt like I needed to be there for him and everybody else needed to be there for him too. It's just I'm a little bit more vocal and the media comes to me when certain things happen, and I was right there, and I was the one that wore it. I'm fine with that.
"I would rather have people calling [into radio stations] saying however they feel [about me] than for me to walk into work and have to look at Kevin Youkilis and have him say, 'Hey, man. He didn't have my back when I needed him the most.' To an extent, I'm proud that I said that because Youk knows now that under any circumstances I'll have his back. That goes for all my teammates. I love them."
Pedroia elaborated on his relationship with the manager, something that he said was incorrectly perceived to be negative due to how well he got along with Terry Franconca.
"I had a meeting with him after I made those comments," Pedroia said. "We had a team meeting and I went in there and talked to him and kind of expressed how I felt. He expressed things about me, and we were great, man.
"I said that throughout the year, but in New York, the last weekend of the year I had broken one of my fingers. It was a day that I couldn't play and he kind of sat me down and told me some great things that I appreciated: How to get better, be a better leader. I really appreciated it."
Pedroia said it was in that discussion that the two touched on Valentine's uncertain future with the team, with Pedroia telling the manager he would have liked for him to return.
"He kind of told me, 'Listen, I don't know if I'm going to be back next year, but I hope I am. I hope we can give this another try. We'll do a lot of things differently,' and I said the same thing. I said, 'You know what? So would I.' That was kind of the last time I spoke to him.
"After they made the decision to fire him, I texted Bobby and told him thank you for the year and sorry that we didn't accomplish our goals, but I just wanted to tell him I appreciated the things he said to me to make me a better player."
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