So, during the 9th inning of Friday’s game, the Red Sox and Rays had basically the most heated bench-clearing in the history of baseball that did not feature a single ejection.
It all started when longtime Boston enemy Luke Scott, noted by many for his good career splits against the Red Sox (he’d been with the Orioles before this season) and calling Fenway a dump a month or so ago, was clearly targeted during the 9th inning Friday night. The first pitch from Franklin Morales was 97 MPH and behind his back, the next two were inside, and the final pitch finally hit him. This was, as an ESPN article points out, the third time in three games that Scott was hit by a Boston pitcher.
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You can probably figure out what happened next: benches cleared, there was some shoving, and the coaching staffs yelled at each other. Actually, most of the action was by the coaching staffs. Which would seem to indicate that this, at least at the start, wasn’t a beef between the teams, but rather something between the staffs. The problems between the players had likely already been settled by the Laws of the Great and Holy Unwritten Rules, in many of their eyes (this feud between the two teams goes back either to the dawn of time or to when Adrian Gonzalez guaranteed he’d hit a home run in a game at Tampa, depending on who you ask). So it seems to have been instigated by somebody on the bench.
You can probably guess who the Rays’ think started it: the Red Sox. Joe Maddon even tweeted about it:
Very proud of our effort 2nite. What occurred in the 9th reeked of intent. Was ridiculous, absurd, idiotic, incompetent, cowardly behavior.
— Joe Maddon (@RaysJoeMaddon) May 26, 2012
And, given the fact that Bobby Valentine said things like “boys will be boys” and that perhaps it was the “ghosts of Fenway” in the post-game, I don’t think he’s exactly denying Maddon’s accusation. And given the fact that the Rays and Red Sox have games the rest of the weekend, this probably isn’t over. I’m not the only one who thinks that:
— Mike Greenberg (@Espngreeny) May 26, 2012
Nope. It’s not over @Espngreeny
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) May 26, 2012