by Charlie O. Mallonee
The details are now coming out on the clubhouse fight between Billy Butler and Danny Valencia on Friday night in Chicago. Apparently, it was just as advertised. Butler told a shoe representative that Valencia was not wearing the brand named spikes in games that he is paid to wear, and Valencia took exception to Butler involving himself in his endorsement deals.
The situation deteriorated and yelling turned into a fight. Reports have Butler taking a punch off the side of his head that has now brought on concussion like symptoms. Butler was kept out of all three games in Chicago over the weekend. He would normally have been the Designated Hitter on Saturday and Sunday against left-handed starting pitchers.
The bottom line is that it appears Butler was stepping in on Valencia’s business and possibly affecting Valencia financially. Players get paid for wearing certain shoes, gloves, batting gloves, etc. As with most people, Valencia did not appreciate someone messing with his money. Does that make hitting a man on the side of his head and possibly giving him a concussion justified? No, of course not, but it does become more understandable.
A’s general manager David Forst told the media prior to the Cleveland game on Monday that both players have been fined undisclosed amounts. Forst said nothing about suspensions for the players which means none are probably forthcoming.
Butler has been placed on the seven-day concussion disabled list which means he will have to pass testing and be cleared by MLB before returning to play, so seven days off is a minimum. Infielder Arismendy Alcantara has been recalled from Triple-A Nashville to take Butler’s place on the roster.
Valencia is not in the lineup for the Monday night game with Cleveland but the Indians are are starting a right-hander on the mound for game one.
This situation is just another pothole on what has been a very rough road that has been the A’s 2016 season. Flare ups happen in every major league locker room and most go unreported because they end without injury. In this case, the flare up became a case of unacceptable workplace violence. Both players are very lucky they are highly paid athletes and not a couple of analyst working side-by-side in cubicles. If they were analyst, they would be unemployed tonight.