When we talk about MLB rivalries, one of the fiercest we think about is the one between the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox. There have been some great games played, and some memorable fights and knockdowns (Pedro Martinez and the recently departed Don Zimmer comes to mind). It seems, however, the Red Sox are moving onto another team-the Tampa Bay Rays.
In Game 2 of last year’s ALDS, Ortiz hit two homers off of Price. On the second one, Ortiz stood in the batter’s box to see if the ball went fair or foul. Price did not like that and was enraged. Apparently, the two talked it over after the game and it appeared as the issue was resolved.
Not so fast, though…
On May 30th, the two met up again, and Price hit Ortiz on the hip. He also hit MIke Carp. That was two hitters plunked in four innings by a pitcher who had hit just one hitter going into the game.
Even though the benches were warned early after Ortiz was hit, Price was not ejected from the game after the second one. Red Sox pitcher Brandon Workman threw high and behind Evan Longoria, and he was immediately ejected. Along with Workman, John Farrell and two other acting managers were ejected.
Ortiz was not too pleased with what Price did. He went on a postgame tirade.
“I have a lot of respect for the guy, man, but it’s over. I’ve got no more respect for him,” Ortiz said of Price. “Last year, we kicked his ass in the playoffs, he went off, talking (expletive) about everybody. We kind of got to talk on the phone, we kind of straightened things out. He was kind of upset, you know, and me as a veteran, I kind of let him know how things go in this game and later on, he called me and apologized, because he knew he was wrong. He apologized in public, he apologized to myself and everything, and everything was cool.
“So first at-bat of the season against him, he drills me. That means it’s a war. It’s on. Next time he hits me, he better bring the gloves on. I have no respect for him no more.”
That was a lot said, but Ortiz was not yet done.
“I thought everything was cool. You can’t be acting like a little girl out there. I mean, you’re not going to win all the time. When you give it up, that’s an experience for the next time. But if you’re going to be acting like a little bitch … sometimes you give it up, bounce back like that and put your teammates in jeopardy, that’s going to cost you.
“I respect everybody in this league, and I get a certain respect from everybody. And if you’re mad because I took you deep twice, let me let you know that I’ve got almost 500 homers in this league. That’s part of the game, son.”
For his part, Price all but admitted he threw at Ortiz. He went out of his way to say he did not mean to hit Carp, but said nothing about hitting Ortiz. In an interview with Ken Rosenthal the day after the incident, Price had this to say. “Nobody’s bigger than the game of baseball. You ask pitchers from 10-15-20 years ago. That’s normal. Part of the game.”
So after the dust settled, it would appear that Price and Workman would get suspended, right? Right?
Well, Workman did get suspended, six games. Price, however, was not. He was fined, but not suspended.
It’s not like MLB hasn’t had a situation like this before.
Did Hamels get away without a suspension? Nope. He was suspended five games for his actions. Not suspending Price was just plain baffling.
Of course, Ortiz and the Red Sox were baffled and angry at the lack of action.
“We’re the ones getting fines and suspensions,” Ortiz said. “I guess the rules aren’t for everyone.
“I don’t think what they’re doing is fair. I think the rules should be for everybody. We didn’t start this up. I didn’t hit nobody. Workman didn’t hit anybody in the first inning. Price did.”
With emotions flying high between the Rays and Red Sox, the fact that MLB did not suspend Price invites the teams to use vigilante justice. What happened this time won’t be forgotten by the Red Sox when the two meet up again July 25-27. Ortiz is looking for revenge, so what will happen when he hits a homer and takes the longest, slowest trot around the bases? I would expect the body count of hit batsmen to be high.