The Red Sox were engaged in an all out brawl on Friday night — quite literally. The benches at Fenway Park cleared in the top of the ninth inning, and it was all but an old-school barnyard rodeo that ensued.
Luke Scott finally got the recompense he was owed — when Franklin Morales beaned the loundmouth lefty — after badmouting Fenway and the fans of Red Sox Nation earlier in the year.
The move was likely retalliation for Adrian Gonzalez taking one on the leg earlier in the week in Tampa, and Dustin Pedroia catching one on the hindside in the sixth inning on Friday. But manager Bobby Valentine took the beanball as more of a sign from “the ghosts of Fenway past.”
“Boys will be boys,” Valentine said, adding a little humor to the back-and-forth beaning. “Maybe it was the ghosts of Fenway past, remembering [Scott] badmouthing all our fans, and directing the ball at his leg.”
The comment was nothing more than a clever quip, but Rays manager Joe Maddon certainly didn’t take it as such. The usually mild-mannered Rays manager spoke very firmly of the incident after the game.
“We will respond, I promise you that,” he said.
Maddon may seem to be more enraged by the incident at the moment, but Valentine’s certainly planning his attack. The subtle joke during postgame was definitely downplaying the incident, at least in the eyes of the media. But you can be certain that Valentine will be using the incident to fuel the fire of his team the rest of this season.
Clearly the Rays have it out for the Red Sox, for one reason or another. The target practice displayed in the past few meetings is an obvious sign of that, and now it’s the Red Sox attempting to reclaim their territory and display their own dominance on the field.
The Rays still maintain a pretty sizeable 5.5-game lead on the Red Sox in the AL East standings, something Valentine and the boys in Boston are hoping to change by season’s end, if not the All-Star break. But that will only come with a burning desire to climb back on top.
David Ortiz may have been playing peacemaker on the field, as both teams dropped the batting gloves on Friday. And Pedroia may have been downplaying the seriousness of the incident after the game. But both players will surely be looking to avenge the blatant disrespect shown on Friday, and they’ll likely settle their score on the field.