Right then, a very interesting night for the Boston Red Sox.
First off, the Red Sox had to deal with the 2008 amateur draft. While I’m eligible, I’m looking for the right fit, I need PT and refuse to accept a weak financial offer. My secret is OBP. I’m getting so fat that my gut hangs well over the plate creating a very small strike zone for the pitcher. Hit the very small unoccupied strike zone or hit my lard and force the HBP. I rule.
Of more immediate concern was the ruckus that looked like an MMA event. The Red Sox and Rays had a bit of a throw-down. Winner…of the game anyway, was the Red Sox.
Here’s my take on the rumble: Ray’s starter James Shields was either really off (he hit 2) or he decided to even things up far too early in the game. By hitting Coco Crisp in the 3rd rather than say, a later inning, he guaranteed himself an early exit and put the Rays bullpen in a difficult position.
For those not sure what in freak caused tonight’s brawl, here’s a quick summary. On Wednesday, Coco Crisp stole 2nd with a headfirst slide. In stealing the base, Ray’s 2b Jason Bartlett blocked the bag with his lower leg. Crisp was successful in his attempt, but slightly injured his left thumb in the process b/c instead of grabbing a base, he made contact with Bartlett’s bag. While not uncommon, blocking 2b with your leg is sometimes frowned upon. Crisp took matters into his own hands and later in the game, with another steal attempt, took out Ray’s 2b Akinori Iwamura with a takeout slide at second, one you’d expect to see when trying to break up a double play.
Clean? Probably not, but Crisp saw it as legitimate retaliation. He said as much after the game and told the media that if the Ray’s were unhappy, he was the one to talk to. They did.
Crisp was plunked by a James Shields fastball in the 3rd in tonight’s game. Here’s where things got interesting.
Crisp could have just trotted to first, but he instead chose the charge method and took off after Shields. Crisp dodged a right handed hay-maker by Shields and countered with a fairly weak jab. He was then smothered by Ray’s catcher Dioner Navarro which led to a free for all on Crisp’s face as Johnny Gomes jumped on board and started throwing right handed bombs.
The scrum lasted about 90 seconds or so when Crisp finally emerged. He looked battered as his eyes were swollen and his nose a bit larger than usual.
Result? Crisp, Shields and Gomes ejected. A very good trade-off for Boston. Shields picked a lousy time to retaliate or perhaps never expected Crisp to say "yes" to his offer. Crisp forced the issue and put Tampa Bay in a tough spot. Crisp isn’t a regular while Shield’s is. I equated tonight to an NHL fight. A goon vs. a legitimate talent in a fight. Both go off for 5 PIM’s but the legitimate player’s team suffers more.
Anyway, a very interesting development and one sure to keep the Red Sox Tampa Bay match-ups entertaining. Of course the Red Sox lost Jacoby Ellsbury to a wrist sprain and Manny Ramirez to a slight knee injury, so the depth of the Red Sox was utilized tonight.
One uglier note was the apparent fight between Kevin Youkilis and Ramirez in the dugout. I think we’ll probably never know what was said to cause the dust-up, but it wasn’t a good site.
It looked liked Youkilis said something to Manny who threw a right elbow to Youkilis and then shoved him away before teammates could restrain Manny. No one restrained Youkilis which leads me to believe Youk said something which set Manny off.
Jerry Remy, and later, former Red Sox David McCarty said team conflicts probably happen 2-3 times a season, but usually not in front of the TV cameras.
No matter what the cause, Boston went into this series down 1.5 games to the Rays and now is up 1.5. Good series. I expect they’ll lose Crisp for a few while Tampa will lose Shields, Gomes and Carl Crawford few a few games. A decent trade-off.
Oh yeah, the Red Sox made a bunch of picks in the 2008 MLB draft. You know where to go to see the picks.
Interesting Times, Interesting Times indeed.
Update: This quote from Shields after the game tells me it wasn’t a mistake hitting Crisp: "I protected my own players and that’s what we need to do around here. We’ve been getting stomped around the last 10 years and it isn’t going to happen anymore. I had to let them know early and let them know right away.”
Fine James, but way to make an early exit.