Don't look now but the long running feud between the defending World Champions Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay (Devil) Rays has taken yet another turn. In last night's game, Boston outfielder Coco Crisp was caught stealing in the eighth when he slid in on second baseman Akinori Iwamura and was out stealing. After Julio Lugo struck out, Rays manager Joe Maddon went to the mound to remove pitcher relief pitcher Jason Hammel, he turned toward the Red Sox dugout and said something to Crisp.
The two exchanged words and not a whole lot else for the rest of the game. That was last night.
Tonight, the volcano erupted and it was as if the gates of Hell had not just been opened but kicked in. This time, it was Crisp and Tampa Bay starter James Shields. Shields hit Crisp on the hip and it was on. Big time. Crisp dropped his bat, charged the mound and ducked a wild right by Shields before throwing a few punches himself.
Crisp was tackled to the ground by Tampa Bay catcher Dioner Navarro. Rays designated hitter Jonny Gomes charged the mound from the dugout, jumped on Navarro and Crisp, and threw several punches that hit Crisp while he was on the ground. Wait... wasn't Gomes involved in an incident in spring training? I do believe he was. Are we finally seeing some fight in this ballclub? Let's hope so.
“I protected my own players and that’s what we need to do around here,” Shields said. “We’ve been getting stomped around the last 10 years and it isn’t going to happen anymore. I had to let them know early and let them know right away.” In other words, Shields went Twisted Sister on the Red Sox. Expect to be called on the carpet by principal Bob Watson, gentlemen.
So now the rivalry between the defending World Champs and a team long considered the fair-haired stepchild of the American League East have opened up a new can of worms. These two teams meet again in St. Petersburg June 30th-July 2nd. If these two teams are as close to each other then as they are now, I can imagine the body count will be a bit higher. Crisp had best watch his back in St. Pete and not go anywhere alone. Right now, he may be the most hated man in Florida since Ted Bundy. For all practical purposes, he has the mark of Cain on his head.
And (Devil) Rays fans are chomping at the bit. Let's get ready to RUMMMMMMBLE!