Boston Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz had the wrong number Saturday night.
Ortiz went batty, literally, after striking out in the top of the seventh inning of Boston's 7-3 victory in Baltimore.
Ortiz destroyed his bat and repeatedly clubbed a phone in the Red Sox dugout, spraying chunks of his bat and the phone's plastic case. Earlier, umpire Tim Timmons called a strike on a high 3-0 pitch after Ortiz thought he had a walk.
Furious, Ortiz screamed at Timmons and then headed to the dugout.
Eventually, the dugout phone's plastic cover and Ortiz's bat would pay the ultimate price.
Miraculously, both the dugout phone remained operational and Ortiz's Boston teammates were uninjured, although second baseman Dustin Pedroia, who was closest in the dugout to the action, nearly got caught by one of Ortiz's swings and the flying debris. He got in Ortiz's face and eventually helped shove him inside from the dugout.
"I've got 17 years in the league and I don't think I deserve to be disrespected like that. If you want respect from the player, you have to respect the player," Ortiz said in remarks aired on NESN after the game. "He wanted to act like it was the right call ... all I do is hit, I'm not going to let anyone take that away from me. [MLB] should do something about that because that was horrible."
Call it "Roid-Free Rage."
The end result, at least in the short term, was a slew of one-liners on Twitter stemming from the outburst.
We now know the the last three things left after the Apocalypse will be cockroaches, Twinkies (thank goodness) and that bullpen phone in Baltimore. We may see another 15 Ice Ages before that thing becomes bio-degradable.
This was one call that could not be completed as dialed.
All kidding and bad calls aside, the temper tantrum could have had serious consequences had a Red Sox teammate or fan been injured. Ortiz, who was ejected, may face a fine, or possibly a suspension, for what he may have said to Timmons. That may also depend on how MLB might view his actions considering they were both potentially dangerous and didn't send the most positive of messages.
His post-game critique of the umpiring won't help his cause much, either.
Even if he was right.
Arguing a bad call - the missed strike on the 3-0 pitch, not the pitch six miles outside the strike zone that he swung at and missed on 3-2 - is one thing, this display of unmitigated bat-aided fury was another all together. Ortiz got disconnected from reality and put his teammates and coaches at risk. Something tells us the Red Sox PR machine will eventually convince Ortiz to utter a few words of contrition about his behavior.
As of Sunday morning, the Red Sox had not publicly released any statement via social media or elsewhere in regard to Ortiz's "Bat Man" incident. They were beaten to the punchline on Twitter by the Tampa Bay Rays:
WANTED: Steel alloy telephone with Kevlar cord. Will spare no expense. Must install by Sept. 10.— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) July 28, 2013
Ortiz wasn't the only member of the Red Sox who released some unexpected bat fury Saturday. Steven Drew hit a pair of home runs, including a two-run shot what was initially incorrectly ruled a triple. The Red Sox stayed a half-game out of first, behind the rampaging Rays, who shut out New York 1-0.
If you liked what you saw on Saturday night and are a fan of high-octane action, controlled road rage and flying debris, you might want to check out Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup "Brickyard 400" [officially the Samuel Deeds 400] on ESPN at 1 p.m. The interesting story-line here for Red Sox fans, or those who like to torment John Henry's other Fenway Sports Group properties, is that no Roush Fenway driver has ever won the race in its 20-year history. Carl Edwards, who drives the No. 99 Ford Fusion, is RFR's best shot today, starting third.
Or you can watch the Red Sox and Baltimore go at it at 1:35 p.m. on NESN. But after Saturday night's action, just plain old baseball might not be enough.
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