Last night’s Red Sox/Tampa Bay game featured so many crazy things going on that the actual action of the game was overwhelmed and pushed to the side. After Wednesday’s unnecessary hard slide and then subsequent yelling match between Coco Crisp and Rays hipster manager Joe Maddon (my favorite part was when Coco pointed at his uniform and yelled, “We’re the Red Sox motherfucker!”) there seemed little doubt that Coco was going to get plunked the next time he was at bat.
So, yesterday, in his first at-bat, first pitch, James Shields throws and hits Coco on the thigh. Then, as Crisp said,
I charged the mound. I feigned it like I was going to go to first base, just to get Navarro off me a little bit, and just charged the mound. He tried to hit me with a haymaker. He missed. I threw a punch. I pretty much missed. And the rest, went down to the ground… like the scratches on my face were people trying to scratch like we were playing football or something, like little girls, trying to scratch out my eyes. I move one hand down, scratch me right here [points to scratch to the right of his nose].
Now, as a Sox fan, I can admit that A) Coco shouldn’t have done the hard takeout on Wednesday, B) should have taken the hit-by-pitch and just gone to first. The brawl was unnecessary and Coco is definitely going to get a healthy suspension, (my guess 10 games.)
That Coco said after the game, “And actually I credit Shields, too ‘cause, even though we went at it, he hit me in the leg. He didn’t try to hit me in the head so that’s good. He didn’t like try to kill me.” Uh Coco, that’s the reason why you DON’T go out there, sure, if he threw at your head, I have no problem with you charging, that’s a dangerous situation where you could get killed, but getting hit on the thigh is no big deal, take the free base and move on.
In terms of brawls though, this one was pretty fun. The greatest game I have ever attended was the 2004 A-Rod/Varitek brawl and this brawl came close to being as epic. I actually thought this was great for the Rays, it showed their team unity and gave them a chance to say to the Red Sox they weren’t intimidated and that they’re fighters, as it were. Of course, they should have focused more on trying to hold onto first place but I digress…
Once the scrum began, Coco got pounded on, the video clearly shows Johnny Gomes giving Coco the business while Coco was lying on the ground, and when I say “the business” I mean repeated punches to the ribs, not to mention Carl Crawford flying in and getting a couple head shots in too. The Sox seemed like they were all out there for Crisp, defending their teammate, and that was also nice to see. This might just be the thing that this team needs. The Red Sox this season have looked lethargic against weaker opponents, like they know they can easily win no matter what and so relax. This series, though, against the Ördögian Rays the Sox went all out in reclaiming first place, pounding the shit of the ball inning after inning.
At least right now, Tampa Bay simply isn’t ready. It’s really unfortunate, I would totally love the Rays if they didn’t play in the AL East, they have built their team in the exact manner that I love. Young prospects, all of whom run like gazelles and many are 30-30 type players, and then power arms who throw inside and strike people out. I’ve been on the Tampa Bay in the playoffs in 2010 bandwagon for a while, and that team is going to be fun to watch for a while to come. It’s a shame the fine folk of can’t leave the arty establishments of St. Petersburg in order to head to the game.
One other thing that I was surprised to see about the brawl was that JD Drew was in the middle of it. Now Drew is more commonly known for his calmness and always relaxed attitude and he was out there trying to toss people off of Coco and defend his teammate. It was nice to see, like maybe JD is actually a living, feeling human being. I often think about how JD relaxs, I mean, is he like a vicious Jim Beam drinker? A total stoner? How does he get down? I think he might be one of those guys who are always reserved and quiet and then will start drinking the bourbon and become a wild man, who then spends the next day apologizing. At least I hope so. He also strikes me as the type of guy who never gets into fights and the one time he does puts like 6 guys in the hospital. That may all be colored by the fact that several of my fantasy teams hinge on JD’s production…
Anyway, here’s the brawl for anyone who missed it, or if you’re like me, just want to keep watching it over and over.