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Nixon the one in the middle

Page 2 of 2 -- "I better not," he said. "I mean, I shouldn't."

Nixon said he didn't do anything that warranted his ejection.

"No, not really," he said, "not after a certain person grabbed at my eye. That ignited me. That made me furious.

"I went out toward Carter. I could have gone out there and hurt Carter, but I'm not going to do that. That just wouldn't be right. I wasn't going to do anything to him. That's a cheap shot. That's stupid."

Brazelton, Nixon said, was yelling at him to stay away from Carter, and then stuck his finger in his left eye. It was the same eye, he said, that his toddler, Chase, accidentally hit two years ago, scratching his cornea, leaving him with blurred vision, and causing him to go to then-manager Grady Little and say he couldn't play. "I wasn't comfortable with my vision for almost three weeks," he said. "So whether he intended to do it or not, that doesn't matter.

"I think Mr. Reed thought I was threatening [Brazelton] or whatever, but I wasn't threatening him. I was just giving him information."

That information wasn't Kathryn Nixon's recipe for peach cobbler.

"What ignited me the most is that he was grabbing at my face," Nixon said. "I was giving him information about what I'd do to him if he's going to do some crap like that, you know."

Brazelton, who is 24 and in just his second full season in the big leagues, seemed abashed by the whole episode.

"I'm embarrassed I got thrown out of the ballgame," he said. "Normally when you go out there, it's a song and dance, but in this case, I was trying to protect our pitcher. Nobody wants to hurt anybody; that's just baseball.

"But we had just had two really hard-fought games and sometimes emotion gets the best of you. I'm an educated fellow, but that was uneducated. I really have more class than that. I was just trying to protect our pitcher."

Arroyo hitting Huff with two out and nobody on in the sixth certainly looked suspicious, the kind of act that might invite retaliation.

"I dont know what their intentions were, if any at all," Nixon said. "They have some young pitchers over there, and when you have young pitchers, with certain hitters, they try to do too much. You just don't want to see balls going at people's heads. That ball was right at Ortiz's head. Ortiz is a vital part of our ball club and that upset me."

But in a cooler moment, Nixon was saying of Brazelton, "I hear he's a pretty good kid. I don't know what Brazelton's intentions were. I've got no ill will toward anyone over there. We've been in situations, but it's never been like, `I despise these guys.' I don't. But Brazelton stepped over the line with me."

And you thought emotions ran high when the Yankees were in the other dugout? Piniella said the Devil Rays won't be intimidated just because the Sox are champs.

Ortiz blamed Piniella for not teaching his players how to play right. "They have to play professional," Ortiz said. "You've got a wild bunch of young players out there, teach them how to play the game, but you got to disrespect nobody, you know what I'm saying? The most respect you show to people is the most respect you get. That's how it is."

Singleton said that after he was hit, Sox catcher Jason Varitek said to him, `It's got to end, it's got to end.' "

Singleton's response? "Why didn't it end last inning?"

Doesn't sound like it's going to end any time soon, does it? 

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