In recent history there a feud has been brewing between the Boston Red Sox and the Tampa Bay Rays. Friday night in Boston the feud became a full scale “war” at least according to Boston’s David Ortiz.
What began in last season’s American League Division series seems to have carried over to the 2014 season. The Red Sox defeated the Rays in the ALDS, eventually going on to become the 2013 World Champions. In game two of the first round last October, Ortiz hit two towering home runs off of Rays’ starter David Price. Ortiz lingered a little too long for Price’s taste before rounding the bases on the second homer. Afterwards Price had some choice words for the Red Sox and their designated hitter.
Price and Ortiz talked on the phone in the off-season and according to ESPN.com Ortiz thought that the air between the two players had been cleared telling reporters after Friday’s game,
“Last year, we kicked his butt in the playoffs and he went off talking crap about everyone. We go to talk on the phone after we kind of straightened things out. He was upset, and then I let him know how I felt. Later on he called me and apologized because he knew he was wrong. Everything was cool.”
There was still some tension however, between the two teams, just last week the benches cleared as the Rays were about to sweep the Red Sox at Tropicana Field for what ended up being the Red Sox ninth straight loss. The argument involved the Rays base running but was not centered around Ortiz or Price. Ortiz did not face off against Price during the series.
As the two A.L. East teams met again Friday night Price drilled Ortiz with a 94-mph fastball during his first at-bat. The home plate umpire immediately issued warnings to both benches and to Price. Red Sox manager John Farrell, angry over the fact that Price was not immediately ejected, left the dugout and was the first to be ejected from the game for letting the plate umpire know just how he felt about situation. Later Farrell said,
“He threw at Ortiz and hit him in the back. There’s intent to that.”
The benches and bullpens cleared in the fourth when Price hit Mike Carp with a pitch. Bench coach/acting manager Torey Lovullo was ejected for arguing and Ortiz seemed especially angry trying to go after Price. That was not the end to the action, not by a long shot.
Of course the tension only grew as the teams entered extra innings in a 2-2 tie. The Red Sox won the game on an RBI triple by catcher A.J. Pierzynski in the bottom of the tenth inning. It was their second walk-off in a row and fifth straight win since breaking their ten game losing streak. The Red Sox benches then cleared but this time only to celebrate.
Ortiz still had words for the media after the game saying,
“It’s a war. It’s on. Next time I see him, he better put his gloves on. I have no respect for him anymore.”
The two teams play each other 12 more times this season. When asked if the feud would carry over into future series Price answered,
“I’m sure it will.”