Each time Bobby Valentine saunters to the mound to make
a pitching change, the Red Sox manager can usually be found sniffing the
baseball while waiting for his new reliever to emerge from the bullpen.
Recently, Valentine has been caught on camera smelling
the baseball during his awkward exchanges with Alfredo Aceves on the mound.
When asked about the unusual custom, the skipper acknowledged the strange
"I like the smell of it," Valentine said.
"Must be the [Delaware] mud mixed in with that Taiwanese leather. I don't
know why I do it. It’s kind of weird."
After taking a whiffing of it — or multiple whiffs — Valentine usually passes the same baseball over to his next reliever. But he
insists that odd practice shouldn't freak out his players.
"I don't think it affects the guy coming in. I don’t
spit on it or anything," Valentine said. "When I smelled it last
night, I said someone’s going to ask me why I’m smelling this freakin’ thing.
It’s kind of stupid, isn't it?"
At least, Valentine owned up to the bizarre habit.