The Tampa Bay Rays and the New York Yankees. Aside from the fact they share the same division with the Boston Red Sox, they don't like each other. Right now, that word "like" is becoming somewhat distorted. The feud, which makes even the worst of divorces or breakups look calm, took yet another twist Wednesday on the other side of Tampa Bay, this time in St. Petersburg, the home of the newly wed and almost dead, as a teacher of mine called the place.
To bring you up to speed, here's what happened. In Tampa on Monday, Yankees backup catcher Francisco Cervelli was involved in a play at the plate, which Cervelli made the play but was injured in a collision at the plate and may be out for the season. Yankees manager Joe Girardi complained about the aggressive play. Both teams had been warned before today's game that the umpires would have little tolerance for any further problems.
Listening as well as Icarus before he got too damned close to the sun and saw his wings melt, New York's Shelley Duncan came in spikes high (which would have made Ty Cobb proud) into Tampa Bay's second baseman Akinori Iwamura. Duncan was out on the play at second by some 10 feet and was ejected. He was not the only one to be asked to leave. Tampa Bay's Jonny Gomes was tossed as well, after he raced from right field to defend his teammate. The only good thing was that there were no punches thrown and order was restored. Or was it?
Spring training or not, a bench clearing brawl is a great way to get injured or end your career. Some of that energy would be better suited for the regular season, when the games really count.
I expect Bob Watson's hand on this at almost any day now. Perhaps Gomes and Duncan need a huge time out. It's one thing to defend your teammate's honor. It's another to be stupid and ruin not only a career but a reputation. Guys, you might be losing some dead presidents, too, if you know what I mean.