"[The Rays] started everything and we've got to pay for it, basically. That's the message I'm getting. I don't have any answer for it. But like I say, man, there's way too much evidence now that he hit me on purpose and the funny thing is we're the ones getting fines and suspensions, all that kind of stuff. I guess the rules are not for everyone ... I think the rules should for everybody. We didn't start this up. I didn't hurt nobody. [Brandon] Workman wasn't hitting anybody in the first inning. They did."
David Ortiz got it half right. All of this ire between the Red Sox and the-then Tampa Bay Devil Rays really got started back on Aug. 29, 2000, when Pedro Martinez delivered a surgical strike inside on the wrist of Gerald Williams.
In 2014, Price says Ortiz is "bigger than the game of baseball."
Ortiz says the rules "are not for everyone." Everyone here means Price and the Tampa Bay Rays.
The details, for the record: Price plunked Ortiz Friday, presumably, because Ortiz watched the second home run he hit off Price in Game 2 of the ALDS last October sail down the right-field line before it fell fair.
That man can certainly hold a grudge.
Home plate umpire Dan Bellino issued warnings to both benches, tossed John Farrell, but did not punish Price or his manager, Joe F. Maddon. Price followed that by nearly beheading Mike Carp in the third inning, who had gone 0-for-5 the last time Price faced the Red Sox.
Red Sox pitcher Brandon Workman would later clinch the 2014 Ryan Dempster Memorial Award by throwing a pitch behind Evan Longoria. He was ejected, along with acting manager (at the time) Brian Butterfield.
Given all the recent talk about "unwritten baseball rules" around these parts, Workman seems to be the only person who knows what they mean and how to follow them.
"You drill our top guy, we're going to go after yours. Sometimes, we miss."
BULLETIN: Maddon has been named 2014 Manager of the Year by the rest of the American League East.
On the surface, this war of words and occasional baseball is just big kid's stuff. These are both grown men who get paid lots of money to play a game. What they do brings joy and/or misery to thousands each night but has no real or lasting effects on our lives. Some people go so far as say professional athletes are "role models" or "heroes" to children and this type of boorish behavior sets a poor standard.
If you are looking for "heroes" for your kids to admire, Google the names of Clayton Bowen, Morris Walker, Kurt Curtiss, Darryn Andrews, Matthew Michael Martinek, and Michael Murphrey.
T.J. Oshie had it so right.
No one not employed by the Rays, sycophantic to their cause or who is a self-appointed "Guardian of the Good and Politically Correct" seriously thought Ortiz last Friday was belittling real "war" and the real soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines who fight when he said it's "war" between him and Price.
Nope, this is just baseball tough-talk, which frankly has been lacking way too much when it comes to baseball these days.
Geezers like myself love reminiscing about the good-old days when the Red Sox and Yankees had no hesitation when it came to hating each other and Boston was counting the scores [four-score plus-six eventually] without a baseball championship.
That's sports hate.
Ortiz's latest lamentation comes as much directed at Major League Baseball as it does toward Price and the Rays. Price drilled Ortiz in the upper rump with the first pitch in the bottom of the first last Friday night. There was, sadly, no fight to speak of. It was just a bunch of yelling and posturing.
Same thing didn't happen a week ago Sunday in Tampa, when Yunel Escobar took third base on a "defensive indifference" and double-dog-dared the Red Sox dugout to do something about it. Jonny Gomes strode in from left field and sort of ran at Escobar before he realized he might have to actually fight him. Funny how the Red Sox got upset despite showing defensive, offensive, and strategic indifference for nearly two weeks before that loss.
It was not anything like we saw back in May 1976, when Lou Piniella rolled into Carlton Fisk at home plate in Yankee Stadium. The ensuing street-fight resulted in Lee's shoulder being ruined and cemented Red Sox-Yankees sports-hate for another generation in New England [north and east of Waterbury, Conn., at least.]
You know you want to see it again.
One of our favorite 2004 moments.
Nor did the antics last Friday and the previous weekend come close to what happened when Roger Clemens aimed for Manny Ramirez's head back in the 2003 ALCS in what may have been the greatest single PED-fueled postseason matchup in baseball history.
They don't make baseball fights like that anymore.
What happened last Friday night at Fenway Park, Price's snarky response Saturday, and the league's unwillingness to punish the Rays, while suspending Workman for six games, has everyone counting down the number of runners left on base by Gomes between now and when the Red Sox and Rays play again.
That will be July 25 at Tropicana Field. Get your tickets here. Plenty of good sections remain available.
This is great stuff when it comes to stoking the Hot Stove of the summer and fall, especially when the two teams involved in this internecine battle are a combined 19.5 games out of first place.
There has to be a good backstory with these Jekyll and Hyde Sox. Their play on the field might not be enough to keep us interested beyond August. A .500 record and the lure of the second wildcard might be a nice opiate for the baseball masses, but this team still shows no signs of being able to hold up in a five-game series against any of the A.L.'s best teams, never mind seven games in the ALCS.
The Red Sox collectively channeled their inner Jack Clark in Tuesday's 5-3 loss to Tito's Little Indians. They left 11 runners on base but squeezed in a solo home run. After losing 10 straight, the Red Sox won seven in a row. They have lost their last two. They remain consistently inconsistent over the short term.
In addition to the 11 runners left on base, the Red Sox went 2-for-11 with runners in scoring position and failed to score an aggregate total of 25 baserunners. Maybe Ortiz knew something was up when he went off on MLB, Price, and the injustices before Tuesday's game. Ortiz, Gomes, Alex Hassan, Brock Holt, and A.J. Pierzynski stranded 20 of those runners collectively.
But no one will be talking much about that on Wednesday.
That's the problem with Big Papi's latest State of the Disunion Address. Anytime he gets angry on the record, there's a jolt of adrenaline pumped throughout Red Sox Nation. But it only matters when there's something of substance on the back end at the plate or elsewhere.
His All-Time "F-Bomb" last April was transcendent because it so perfectly nailed how just about everyone in and around Greater Boston, and those who love it so, felt at that moment. His "King's Speech" during Game 4 of the World Series seemed to reset the team's focus. After Ortiz went "kindergarten teacher" on his teammates in the sixth inning of that game, Boston outscored the Cardinals 12-3 the rest of the way and won all three games. Last Friday, when Ortiz sort-of charged the mound after Price, while Maddon and the Rays gooned it up baseball-style, the Red Sox took the best cheap shots Tampa Bay had to offer and grinded out a 3-2 win in 10 innings.
All the talk and emotion makes for great copy and video, especially when you help a city and region heal after a terrorist bombing, get the team focused during the World Series, or back it up with a hard-fought win in extra innings.
But Tuesday, the Red Sox offense was as frustrating as it has been all season. Ortiz went 0-for-4 with a walk and left four runners on base. Not the best night for a DH.
He closed with this in his 10-minute pregame rant:
"I made my point clear. I'm not going to get hit by him again. He did it on purpose. He punked me. And that was very disrespectful. I'm a grown-ass man, I've been around the league a long time and I know how to take care of business on my own."
Hopefully "business" means hitting above .260 again sometime soon.
The OBF Column is written by award-winning journalist, Bay State native and Boston.Com columnist Bill Speros. Got a news tip, want to let him know directly what you think, have a complaint or compliment about his "aggressively relevant" content or hate people who speak about themselves in the third person, hit him up on his Obnoxious Boston Fan Facebook page, on Twitter @realOBF or hit him on at his
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