"Listen, I loved the way our guys reacted," [Ray's manager, Joe] Maddon said. "I thought it was tremendous. The unity that was displayed, it's part of us growing as a group. Unfortunately, we did not win the game, but I do like the fact that our guys did defend one another. I think that's great and speaks well for us. I'm very pleased with every one of them." (Tampa Bay Online)
I caught the end of the Sox-Rays game the other night just in time to see Coco Crisp's hard slide into second base and the ensuing reaction from the Rays. Last night, I saw the full highlights from the Shields-Crisp/Rays vs. Crisp fight. It wasn't really all that as far as fights go. Shields plunked Crisp, Crisp charged the mound, Shields threw a haymaker and missed, Crisp landed a soft jab, and then Crisp was tackled. The Rays played dogpile on the rabbit but it didn't look as if anyone got any real shots in (Gomes looked as if he was, but that wasn't really the case), just a lot of poking and scratching like you see in football. After the game, a defiant Crisp talked about how the Rays fight like "girls."
Later, Manny and Youk got into it a little something in the Sox dugout. Oh, and the bottom line: the Red Sox pounded the Rays. Swept them out of first place. I think Crisp comes off looking like a punk. Then again, if I was waiting for a full day for someone to plunk me, perhaps I'd charge the mound as well. The Manny-Youk thing is really a non-story. I'm sure this kind of thing happens all the time, just not in the dugout. Hell, the great Yankee teams of the late 70s were built on that kind of creative tension. I sure don't see it impacting Youk or Manny on the field.
The Rays are a work in progress. The Sox are World Champs. 'Nuff said.
There hasn't been as much fighting in recent years. Remember, the 98 Yanks had a few, including that famous one against the Orioles. The 86 Mets had more than a few. Oh, and one last thing on the punch Shields threw at Crisp. It reminded me of the roundhouse that Dave Winfield once threw, and landed, on Nolan Ryan. Remember that one?