BOSTON As Fridays ninth-inning, bench-clearing brouhaha wound down, David Ortiz put his arm around Luke Scotts shoulder and walked Scott several steps toward first base.
Scott had just been hit by a Franklin Morales pitch with two outs and none on, inciting the melee.
In that case, after things happen, go like that, or whatever, you just want to settle things down, Ortiz said.
Ortiz took it upon himself to be the one to do that.
Well, I have a lot of people that they respect me in the game, Ortiz said. And they respect you for a reason and you want to try to keep it that way. And yeah, the incident happened. Luke got hit. And when Im trying to calm things down, this is what Luke told me: 'Papi if you were in my situation, what would you do? Would you be mad?' And I totally agree with him. Id be mad just like you are, but just move on, you know what Im saying? And he understand what I say. He just went down to first base.
But I have a lot of respect for the Tampa guys, the way they play the game, the way they go at it. The situation happened in the game. Me? Im not a big fan of situations like that going down. Manager, players sometimes have their reasons to do whatever they do. But I still have respect for those guys because those guys through the years have come along real good and played the game and do what theyve been doing. I know some of them and they got to go about their business. So hopefully everything will stay right there and we move on and turn the page.
Ortiz is not expecting any retaliations tonight.
Probably not tonight. I dont think, he said. Were still in the same series with things going down. But Im not a pitcher. Im a hitter and like I say, this situation, I dont think the fans come to see that. The fans come and watch us compete. Sometimes things get out of hand and later on you cant control it. But hopefully we just move on and come back and play the game the way we have.
What are the proverbial unwritten rules in this kind of situation?
I dont know them, Ortiz said with a laugh. I dont know them. I focus on hitting the ball and doing my thing. Theres a lot of things about the game that I get caught into and I dont have an answer for them.
Rays manager Joe Maddon made some very blunt comments after Fridays game, saying the situation reeked of intent, calling the Sox actions ridiculous, absurd, idiotic, incompetent, cowardly behavior.
Ortiz said he could understand those sentiments.
Because hes right to be mad about the situation, you know what Im saying, Ortiz said. Hes the manager of their ballclub and just like Bobbys the manager of our ballclub and they got a right to go at each other.
But these kinds of incidents are not new to these two teams. More than any other team, the Sox have had run-ins with the Rays. Dustin Pedroia was hit earlier in Fridays game. Last week, in the two-game set in Tampa Bay, Morales hit Will Rhymes and Clay Buchholz hit Scott in the first game. In the second game, Matt Moore hit Adrian Gonzalez, Felix Doubront hit Scott, and Vicente Padilla hit Rich Thompson.
Its not like its not going to happen because you got 25 guys here and you got 25 guys over there, Ortiz said. You try to have everybody on the same page, its not going to happen. Same over there. Things happen, back and forth, some guy looking for retaliation, some guy looking for, you know, ok, its not going to happen here, its not going to happen there. And later on in the game things happen. But those are things that they are not predictable. Its a lot of adrenaline going on, the flow of the game, get caught into it.
Ortiz was not surprised the benches emptied on Friday.
No, to be honest with you, he said. Me personally, I just saw the thing happen, and I was like Whoa, OK. And of course when you get hit you get mad, especially the way Luke Scott got hit. It was pretty obvious. Because my boy Morales miss one time and then hit him. Of course, youre going to get upset. To me in that situation, you throw at me, the first time, you hit me, its all great. But if you throw at me and miss me and then end up hitting me, Im going to do exactly the same thing he did and probably worse. Because you already got your chances.
Scott was hit on the fifth pitch of the at-bat. After Morales first pitch sailed behind Scott to the backstop, Rays players who were already in their clubhouse rushed to the dugout, in apparent anticipation of an incident.
They were expecting it, Ortiz said. It was a crazy situation. But like I said you dont want to get your pitching star out of their focus. We got Josh Beckett going in tonight, they got David Price going in tonight. These guys are aces who through the years what they focus on is getting hitters out, not hitting guys. Thats not their best game. So when you see guys hitting guys you got them out of their rhythm and hopefully thats not the case tonight.
Scott is on record with derogatory comments about Red Sox fans and Fenway Park. Still, Ortiz is surprised he has become such a villain in Boston.
To be honest with you, yes, yes, Ortiz said. Because like last night was the first time I saw on the TV things that he have said about them, and, man, hes such a nice guy. Hes very religious. He might have his reasons to say what he say. I dont know.
But like I say, hes a good guy and hopefully things get better and sometime people say things that hurt your feelings and you carry that over. Probably thats what happened to him.
But, Luke, we got the best fans on Planet Earth.
Ortiz prediction for tonights game?
I know were going to try to win, he said.
And what about more hit batters?
Im not a pitcher, I dont know. I dont throw the ball. Hopefully I dont get hit.