Tempers, fists fly as Sox brawl with Orioles

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Tempers, fists fly as Sox brawl with Orioles

By Jessica Camerato
CSNNE.com Follow @JCameratoNBA
BOSTON -- What started as a blowout turned into a brawl on Friday night at Fenway Park.

After jumping out 8-0 in the first inning, the Red Sox had a commanding 10-3 lead over the Orioles in the bottom of the eighth. With one out and David Ortiz at the plate, the game had fended off rain showers and looked to be nearing its end.

That is, until Orioles reliever Kevin Gregg threw inside to Ortiz.

And then he did it again.

Ortiz took exception to the pitches and began to walk toward the mound, but retreated to the plate where he popped out to centerfield. Gregg shouted to Ortiz as he ran toward first base and was promptly ejected by home plate umpire Mike Estabrook. Once again, Ortiz headed toward the mound -- and this time, no one retreated.

3-0 count, theyre up seven, I think theres some ethics to this game that youve got to . . . guidelines that youve got to stay within. Run, Gregg said following the Red Sox 10-3 victory. You hit a fly ball, a lazy fly ball, youve got to run the bases. Apparently he didnt like me telling him that stuff and he came out there. Thats part of the game. He has the right to come out there. Im going to defend myself if he comes out.

As Gregg and Ortiz threw punches (none connected), benches and bullpens cleared. The two scuffling players were quickly enveloped in a mass of Red Sox and Orioles furiously trying to defend their teammates.

I think bloods flowing, were obviously scoring some runs. Its hard to explain unless youre out there, said Red Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who was ejected for his role in the scrum. Weve got to protect each other, protect our teammates. I dont think theres any reason for it. I didnt see anything that was reason to throw it at him.

Once tempers cooled and the players were separated, Ortiz, Saltalamacchia and Orioles pitcher Jim Johnson were also ejected. Saltalamacchia, who came out of the Red Sox bullpen, said he has no clue still as to why he was thrown out. While Ortiz did not address the media after the game, his teammates spoke out in his defense.

Starting pitcher Josh Beckett believes Gregg should have been thrown out for leaving the mound before Ortiz even popped out.

I dont know why they were trying to do that, but it was pretty obvious to me it wasnt just, Ill try to pitch you in, " he said, adding, "Gregg obviously said something to David. David's not the kind of guy that just, you know, something had to set him off.

Echoed Dustin Pedroia, Hes nice to everybody. Obviously he was upset, and thats why that happened.

After the game, both sides spoke of protecting their own. Marco Scutaro, at 5-foot-10, jumped on the 6-foot-6 Greggs back to try to restrain him from going after Ortiz. Josh Reddick, who was on third base at the time, said sticking up for your teammates is a huge thing here in the clubhouse.

And the sentiment was no different for the Orioles.

This is a team sport, said Gregg. I take offense to every run scored off every one of our pitchers. I take offense to every one of our hitters thats hit every time Im out there. Were a family we spend more time together with these 25 guys than I do with my own family. I take it personal. You get tired of getting your butt kicked every night when you come in here and Im going to stick up for whats ours and try to get the plate back.

The Red Sox (53-35) took a full-game lead over the Yankees in the American League East with the win and are fighting to maintain control of the top spot. Even though the Orioles, on the other hand, fell to 36-50, they refuse to stop battling.

I think you show them that were not backing down, said Gregg. Were not scared of them them and their 180 million payroll. We dont care. Were here to play the game. We have just as much right to play the game here and were going to do everything we can to win.

With two game left in the series, the two teams are on opposite ends of the standings, but neither team is planning on backing down.

I hope not, because were a good hitting team, said Beckett. They cant just be hitting our expletive guys because we score a lot of runs. Thats how the games played. And it may have been something totally different. Maybe they saw something they didnt like or whatever, but if its just because we scored eight runs in the first inning, theyre going to start throwing at our expletive guys?

Its going to be a long year.

Jessica Camerato is on Twitter at http:twitter.com!JCameratoNBA

Mass. lawmakers propose naming bridge near Fenway for Ortiz

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Mass. lawmakers propose naming bridge near Fenway for Ortiz

One of the biggest gifts David Ortiz could get this weekend as he plays his final regular-season games is a well-traveled area right outside Fenway Park.

Massachusetts lawmakers have taken steps to name the Brookline Avenue bridge that spans the Mass Pike between Newbury and Lansdowne streets near the ballpark the “David Ortiz (‘Big Papi’) Bridge.

The House Ways and Means committee included the proposal as part of a spending bill that the full House could vote on as soon as Thursday and, if approved, send on to the Senate. 

“David Ortiz’s accomplishments and heroics on and off the baseball field have made him a living legend, and his heartfelt contributions to the communities here and in his native Dominican Republic have made him an icon,” said Mass. Gov. Charlie Baker. “As a lifelong Red Sox fan, I am thrilled to be able to help our Commonwealth create a lasting ‘Thank You’ to Big Papi through the renaming of this bridge.”

The proposal calls for a “suitable marker” to be placed on the bridge bearing the new name.

“I’m so excited to be part of this process of giving David Ortiz, one of the greatest Red Sox of all time, his proper due by naming a bridge in his honor,” House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo said. “David has not only been an extraordinary baseball player, he has been an exemplary and inspirational member of our community, most notably after the Boston Marathon bombings. As a fan, I will miss his stride up to the plate followed by a clutch hit and the ballpark exploding into applause.”

 

McAdam: Amid the champagne flowing, a focus on Farrell’s fight

McAdam: Amid the champagne flowing, a focus on Farrell’s fight

NEW YORK - Scenes from a celebrating clubhouse, late Wednesday night:

*As champagne flowed and was sprayed to every virtually corner of the visitor's clubhouse, plots were being hatched.

Some mischevious players gathered to plot out their plan of attack and select a new victim.

Once all teammates had been targeted, the focus shifted to others -- preferably the nicer dressed visitors.

Principal owner John Henry, dressed in a suit, was spared - both out of decorum, and, one senses, self-preservation. In past years, someone like Kevin Millar might have entertained such a notion, but this group lacks that same sort of bold figure.

Then, finally, the group spied manager John Farrell being interviewed across the way. The group -- mostly pitchers -- assembled and then circled the manager before finally dumping bottle after bottle of champagne on Farrell's head.

But this display went beyond prank. There was a genuine affection for the manager as the surrounding players whooped and hollared and the the bubbly flowed.

"He's a fighter,'' remarked Mookie Betts. "He instilled that in us. You fight to win.''

Torey Lovullo, who managed the team in Farrell's absence last year and has been a close friend for years, was overcome with emotion.

"I told him I loved him,'' Lovullo said. "For what he's done, to come out on the other side health-wise....he's the leader of this team. It's very satisfying for all of us that have been behind him.''

Players messed his hair, patted him on the back, and Farrell, with a huge smile, stood and -- literally -- soaked it in.

For the past few days, Farrell had gone to great lengths to turn the focus away from his personal story -- one that saw him beat back cancer a year ago -- and turn it back to the players.

Hours before the clinching, Farrell had deflected a few questions about his own story, insisting he wasn't the centerpiece to what had taken place.

But for a few minutes Wednesday night, he was.

 

*While there were prominent veterans celebrating a division title — from 40-something David Ortiz and Koji Uehara to team greybeards such as Dustin Pedroia -- it was hard not to notice the number of young players under 26 who form the Red Sox’ foundation.

Betts, Jackie Bradley Jr., Xander Bogaerts, Eduardo Rodriguez, Andrew Benintendi and Yoan Moncada are all young and still improving.

With Ortiz headed to retirement, Uehara eligible for free agency and uncertainty surrounding others, it's clear that the young core will form the nucleus of Red Sox teams for years to come.

The organization's hope is that that same group will help ensure against the up-and-down trajectory of recent seasons -- last, first, last, last and now first again.

"I think the way baseball's going these days,'' Henry told the Boston Herald, "if you don't have good young players, you're in trouble.''

"Looking ahead,'' added Pedroia, "we've got a lot of young players who are just going to get better.''