Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
Much Ado
2008-06-06 05:25
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to

"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?

2008-06-06 05:46:41
1.   williamnyy23
I don't remember the Winfield roundhouse on Ryan. I'd love to see it now. I am sure many hitters would have loved to have been on the delivering side of that punch.

Far be it from me to defend a Red Sox, but in the previous game, Crisp was absolutely right about how the Rays cover 2B. Iwamura does it all the time and now Harris seems to be employing the practice of blocking the base with their leg. This can be very dangerous for runners (broken fingers and sprained ankles), so I don't blame Crisp for his ire, nor for going in very hard in his next slide attempt.

Also, Shields explicity stated that he threw at Crisp in the post game, which continues the Rays macho crusade from the spring (and puts the Shelley slide into a new perspective for me). In any event, if Joba/Hawkins/Farnsworth can all get slapped for allegedly throwing at batters they didn't even hit, then I would hope Sheilds gets a suspension long enough to last two starts.

2008-06-06 05:52:31
2.   Alex Belth
Winfield, then with the Pads, charged the mound and threw the punch as he was reaching Ryan and the mound. And landed it. I guess it helps being 6'6.
2008-06-06 05:54:16
3.   rbj
Don't remember the Winfield punch, but wasn't it Aaron Boone who charged Ryan, only to get himself in a headlock where Nolan decided to give his knuckles a workout?
2008-06-06 05:58:01
4.   Alex Belth
Nope, that was poor Robin Ventura.
2008-06-06 06:08:54
5.   Bama Yankee
Here's a countdown video that includes some of those famous base-brawls (Winfield, Ryan and Ventura are all there):

2008-06-06 06:12:03
6.   RIYank
1 It's legal. Runners have to slide feet first so they won't get hurt, and they can go in hard but not spikes-up.

Shields probably should get a suspension for intentionally throwing at a batter, but I give him full credit for doing in the 'right way', so Crisp wasn't going to get hurt by it.

Coco is a fool. He's likely hurt his team badly. Any chance Epstein goes to get Bonds now to DH???

2008-06-06 06:16:17
7.   RIYank
I see Alex didn't mention it and maybe others don't know: Ellsbury left the game after diving for a fly ball, hurt hand. I haven't heard about how bad the injury is. But the Sox may need help badly.
2008-06-06 06:25:41
8.   Alex Belth
From what I saw, Ellsbury saved himself by tucking his wrist in at the last possible moment. They've listed him as day to day, a huge relief cause at first it looked like it could be costly, ala Matsui a few years back.
2008-06-06 06:45:58
9.   Cliff Corcoran
2 That was in 1980, Winnie's last season with the Pads and Nolan's first with the Astros. And it's the first clip in the ink in 5 . Great video, btw, also has the Yanks v. Benitez in '88, Ryan's headlock on Ventura, and Bosox v. Rays from 1999. Those last two teams have been brawling for years, though usually it's Kazmir on the mound. Remember Julian Tavarez vs. Joey Gathright in spring training a few years back?
2008-06-06 07:22:30
10.   williamnyy23
6 Blocking the base without the ball is not legal, at least according to my reading of the rules (even at HP, which we know is never enforced). Also, Even sliding feet first into a runners stationary leg can lead to injuries (I know from personal experience). Regardless, what you suggested is exactly what Crisp did the next time around: he went in very hard without his spikes up. If the Rays don't like that kind of slide, they shouldn't block the base.
2008-06-06 08:03:08
11.   standuptriple
10 When did the Rays and the Sox become the "enforcers" of the unwritten rules of baseball? Just a bunch of punks if you ask me. Stay classy Yanks.
2008-06-06 08:04:52
12.   Josh Wilker
I agree with williamnyy23 that Crisp's reactions were non-punklike, especially considering Tampa's manager fanned the flames of the whole incident before the beanball. The whole thing makes me see Tampa as a bunch of bush league hotheads. A half game out of first place, they lose one of their best starting pitchers in the second inning. Way to pick your spot, guys.
2008-06-06 08:05:27
13.   rbj
4 Thanks.
2008-06-06 08:11:50
14.   Sonya Hennys Tutu
12 What were punk like were his post game comments. Search for the entire video. Such a punk.

That said, the Rays are indeed proving themselves to be the most cocked up bunch of assholes in the game. I truly hope they get their comeuppance, and don't care who delivers it. Weird how I hate them so much.

By the way, the best fight of all time is not on that video - Pedro vs. Zimmer :)

2008-06-06 08:51:53
15.   RIYank
10 I don't think Bartlett did anything a catcher doesn't do. He had the ball when Crisp came in, or else it was bang-bang. If that's illegal, then MLB had better explain to umpires how to call plays at the plate.
Crisp didn't slide with his spikes up, but he gave Iwamura a forearm as he came up. That's definitely not legal.

I certainly don't defend Maddon, Josh, but what Crisp did was just foolish. He planned to charge the mound.

2008-06-06 09:23:24
16.   doslobo38
I say that Crisp and the pitcher should be suspended, he for the pitch and Crisp for charging the mound. I agree with those that described it as "punk" behavior. I was particularly offended by Crisp's grinning interview where he seemed proud of himself like he was some kind of hero. Grow up kid.
2008-06-06 09:32:41
17.   Josh Wilker
15 : "He planned to charge the mound."

Yeah, I can't really argue with that. I didn't hear his post-game comments, but I think in his mind he'd evened things up the day before, so things were uneven again when he got plunked. Not saying that line of thinking is right, but I don't know if I would have been able to do any differently either, though I'd hope I would have had the presence of mind to charge Maddon, not his "errand boy" (to quote Col. Kurtz).

Also, Coco's dad was a boxer, so maybe it's just in his blood to want to mix it up a little.

2008-06-06 09:42:46
18.   RIYank
Buster Olney thinks Crisp will get five games, that Shields will get an extra suspension because he admitted he was throwing at Coco, and that Gomes will (or should?) get ten games.
2008-06-06 10:05:19
19.   williamnyy23
14 His comments were pretty silly, but that's to be expected considering the alteraction. I would be more concerned with Maddon's pre- and post-game comments, especially because as a manager he should know better.

15 Blocking the base without the ball should be enforced, but then again, so should the strike below the letters.

I guess we just disagree on Crisp's slide...I don't think he gave Iwamura a "forearm". Most runners who slide hard wind up popping up quickly and then using their forearm to prevent their face from slamming into the runner. I don't think Crisp was intending to deliver a shiver (Arod slides like this all the time).

Finally, Crisp may have planned to charge the mound, but that's because Shields and the Rays planned to hit him with a pitch. Two wrongs dont make a right, but in this case, the Rays were the instigators both times. Crisp is just guilty of not being able to turn the other cheek.

18 That's good news...Shields' admission definitely warrants a stiffer fine. Gomes also needs a serious suspension he seems to relish the role of being an enforcer (see the ST game against the Yankees).

With all the injuries and suspensions coming to both teams, it BEHOOVES the Yankees to take advantage of an easy schedule and good behavior to get back into the race.

2008-06-06 10:36:13
20.   RIYank
19 The Red Sox MLB site says Crisp "delivered a forearm to second baseman Akinori Iwamura as he was finishing his slide." Dom Amore at the Hartford Courant says "Next time on the bases, Crisp slide in hard and late and popped up with a forearm shiver."

And intentionally plunking someone, I don't like it but (a) practically every ML pitcher does it, and (b) Shields threw at Crisp's leg, not to hurt him. Charging the mound is a whole different thing.

2008-06-06 11:10:14
21.   williamnyy23
20 I've repeatedly watched the play, which only confirms my opinions about the accuracy of journalists. Crisp didn't deliver a forearm shiver, but his forearm did make contact with Iwamura.

Crisp makes his living with his legs...a broken knee cap and his career is probably over. I don't really see the distinction. Shields purposely used the ball as a weapon, so I have no problem with Crisp planning on using his fists. At least Shields could protect himself. It is hard to fend of a major league fastball thrown right at you.

2008-06-06 11:14:32
22.   ny2ca2dc
I generally agree that there's plenty of blame to go around, but probably more belonging to the Rays. I really think Maddon is the biggest culprit in all this - he was baiting Coco in the first game, and I think that's completely inappropriate. The Managers are supposed to be the adult supervision, not make things worse. That buffoon has been doing that sort of thing all year, back to ST with the Shelly incident (Shelly being "borderline criminal" - please). Also, Johnny Gomes is absurd.
2008-06-06 11:32:14
23.   RIYank
21 Okay, we'll just have to agree to disagree, then. As I saw it (and apparently the reporters did too), he deliberately struck Iwamura with his forearm.

A broken kneecap is very painful but it wouldn't end Crisp's career. Jeff Keppinger is on the DL right now with that injury -- I bet you he's back before the All Star break. And I've never heard of a guy's getting his patella broken by a pitch, either. Beanball etiquette says you plunk a guy in the quads or the butt to show you mean business but aren't trying to injure him.

2008-06-06 12:51:56
24.   Rob Middletown CT
I hate the "block the base" bullshit (yes, even at home plate), so I sympathize somewhat with Coco. That said, he went in hard on Imamura and then got plunked on the leg. Take your base, Coco.

But no. He charged the mound, having clearly planned on doing so.

2008-06-06 12:52:39
25.   Rob Middletown CT
Oh, and Gomes is a thug.

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