The Rays designated hitter started screaming, while Jarrod Saltalamacchia attempted to hold him back. At that point, Scott opted to unleash his frustrations on the Red Sox catcher by pushing him.
In a matter of seconds, the benches cleared and tussling ensued. For a brief second, it was reminiscent of the days when Pedro Martinez and Gerald Williams slugged it out back on Aug. 29, 2000 — back when they were called the Devil Rays.
Back in that era, Tampa Bay was still an expansion team in mediocrity. More than a decade later, the Rays are now one of the preeminent clubs in Major League Baseball, making the clash much more intense.
There’s no doubt it’s a rivalry these days. Just ask Saltalamacchia.
“I wouldn’t say there’s bad blood –– it is a rivalry,” Saltalamacchia said. “We want to win, so whoever we put in front of us that we play, it’s going to be a game that we’re heated and ready to go and want to win.”
Like last year, both the Rays and the Red Sox are battling it out to survive in the American League East. In 2011, the Red Sox were officially eliminated from postseason contention when Evan Longoria clubbed his game-winning homer in Game 162.
Over the past few months, Scott added fuel to the fire with his comments about Boston fans and Fenway Park. It continued last Thursday, when Matt Moore and Felix Doubront drilled opposing batters.
All the frustration came to a culmination on Friday. As the dugouts poured out, Red Sox pitching coach Bob McClure and Rays first baseman Carlos Pena started jawing at each other and tussling.
Red Sox bench coach Tim Bogar –– who was once part of the Rays coaching staff –– started dragging around Scott’s jersey. Bogar also started screaming at Sean Rodriguez and stared down some of Tampa’s coaching staff.
The outpouring of emotions was a reminder of similar behavior between Martinez and Williams. While punches weren’t thrown, it’s clear that the rivalry is escalating with every game.