CLEVELAND — The latest from major league sources is that the umpires last Friday night at Fenway Park didn’t think there was intent by Tampa Bay pitcher David Price to throw at David Ortiz, or Mike Carp, which is why Price wasn’t suspended Tuesday along with Red Sox starter Brandon Workman.
Workman is appealing a six-game suspension he received for throwing a ball over Evan Longoria’s head in that game and will make his start Wednesday night against the Indians.
What about Ortiz, though, if Price intended to throw at him before warnings were issued? The assumption regarding Price not being suspended was that he drilled Ortiz in the hip before the warnings, and Workman threw near Longoria after them, a simple case of protocol. But it seems there should have been more involved in deciding the punishment.
It’s one thing for the umpires to file a report that absolved Price of having intent, but it’s another to hand out punishment to only Workman without looking much deeper into what went on.
“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.”
For instance, what about comments Price made Saturday, when he was adamant that he didn’t hit Carp on purpose but didn’t mention his intention concerning Ortiz?
Should MLB simply direct the umpires to stop issuing warnings and just let the players decide things on the field? It seems self-policing works better than what happened Friday night. It certainly didn’t create a calming effect when warnings were issued after Ortiz was hit. That meant that the Red Sox pitcher couldn’t get even. It created more tension and things certainly got out of control.
The entirety of the beef between the teams didn’t seem to be taken into consideration in the final punishment. Does anyone really believe that Price did not intend to hit Ortiz given the history between the two?
As Ortiz pointed out, Price hit Ortiz and Carp and Workman threw behind Longoria’s head. Wasn’t something missed here? Is this not a common sense issue?
If Price hits two batters on purpose (he claims he didn’t mean to hit Carp, but again, we’re talking about a guy with pinpoint control) and Workman throws behind Longoria’s head but doesn’t hit him, am I missing which of the two offenses is greater?
The prelude to this incident should have entered the equation.
On Friday night before the teams even took the field, the umpires (Jeff Kellogg’s crew with Dan Bellino behind the plate) were apprised of the Yunel Escobar incident that recently had occurred in St. Petersburg in which Escobar took third base on defensive indifference in the seventh inning of a game Tampa Bay was leading, 8-3. The Sox took umbrage and the benches cleared. You figured there might be some spillover.
There was, except Price wasn’t necessarily thinking about what Ortiz did in the ALDS last October after hitting one of two homers against Price. Ortiz stood in the batter’s box admiring his work before trotting around the bases. It didn’t sit well with Price, but he and Ortiz had had phone conversations about clearing up the bad feelings.
Price, who has nine walks in 84 1/3 innings this season, drilled Ortiz in the hip in the first inning Friday night. Bellino then issued the warnings to both benches.
That irked Red Sox manager John Farrell, who lost his cool and got tossed in a game in which there were three more Red Sox ejections before A.J. Pierzynski’s walkoff triple in the 10th.
In an interview with Fox sideline reporter Ken Rosenthal Price pretty much admitted he threw at Ortiz. “It’s just — nobody’s bigger than the game of baseball, and sometimes the way he acts out there, he kind of looks like he’s bigger than the game of baseball,” Price said.
Price said he did not mean to hit Carp in the fourth inning, after which bench coach and acting manager Torey Lovullo was tossed.
Workman uncorked his pitch against Longoria in the sixth, and was ejected along with third base coach and acting manager Brian Butterfield.
Some Red Sox personnel believe that Price was fined for his role, but that could not be confirmed.
Ortiz certainly has a beef in that nothing happened to Price. He called it, among other things not suited for a family newspaper, “unfair.” He also said he feels there are some players who seem to be exempt from excessive punishment from MLB, and that that was the case here.
Ortiz is not letting this situation go. He has revenge on his mind. The only way he can pull it off is to hit another home run off Price and give it the longest stare and slowest trot ever. Ortiz wants to rub this in Price’s face badly. His next chance doesn’t come until late July, though.
Ortiz said he received advance notice that someone (maybe executive vice president of baseball operations Joe Torre himself) wants to speak to him directly about the incident. Ortiz will have a lot to say, but MLB also probably doesn’t appreciate Ortiz dissing the punishment system or using the word “unfair” about an MLB ruling.
Yet, if MLB stuck to the letter of the law, even though the pitch at Carp pitch might have been accidental, the umpires had to do something to Price right there, didn’t they?
This isn’t a matter of defending anyone, it’s about right and wrong. It was wrong of the Red Sox to pick a fight with Escobar that day at Tropicana Field and then make it seem as if it was Escobar who started it. It was the Red Sox’ chirping from the bench that got Escobar chirping, not the other way around.
And for Price to retaliate Friday night against Ortiz for something that happened last October was also wrong. But once it happened, don’t you have to allow the evening of the score?
Pitchers are way too sensitive about hitters who “admire” their home runs. After all, don’t pitchers pump their fists or raise their hands after they strike out a big hitter in a big situation? Why is that accepted and the other situation isn’t?
For Price to receive no punishment is indeed “unfair.” He played the biggest role for the dustup Friday night because there was intent.
There’s no way Workman should take the biggest hit for a disruptive evening that Price started.Nick Cafardo can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @nickcafardo.