So, let me get this straight: a starting pitcher nails a hitter intentionally in the first inning, gets a warning, hits another batter, and stays in the game. Meanwhile, the opposing pitcher and manager get warned without the chance of retaliation. The manager argures and gets ejected. His pitcher throws one behind the hitter late in the game and gets ejected along with his acting manager. Okay, I think I have figured it out.

This strange scenario happened Friday night during the Boston Red Sox’ game with their division rival Tampa Bay Rays. The Rays’ David Price drilled Boston’s David Ortiz on the first pitch of the at bat in the first inning. Normally, few would think much of it, but the pitch was a 94-mph fastball that hit Ortiz right in the backside. Price clearly had intent as we can see in this MLB.com clip.

 

We can imply the intent if we go back to October 5, 2013 — Game 2 of the ALDS between the Red Sox and Rays. Ortiz hit two home runs off Price in the Red Sox’ 7-4 win. After hitting the second bomb in the eighth inning, Ortiz stood at home plate for four seconds (see 0:36-0:40 from MLB.com) to see if the ball would stay fair —  four whole seconds — WOW!; Price did not like that.

I agree that a Major League hitter should drop the bat and run — or at least begin his home run trot when he knows he got it — and let the umpire make the call. Ortiz watched, and Price took exception. So what? It is the postseason, and emotions run high. Ortiz admired his work that helped the Red Sox win, and Price got upset. He should have been more upset with his own hanger than with Papi’s staring. Ortiz did not stare down the pitcher; he merely watched the ball.

On MLB Network’s May 30 edition of Quick Pitch, host Heidi Watney showed the video clips of Price and his manager Joe Madden after the game. When asked if Friday night’s pitch was intentional, both said only that Price tried to throw inside but went too far in. They both dodged the question.

Price deserved the warning, but he should have been ejected when he hit Mike Carp later in the game. He already got his warning, so he deserved ejection. To add even more irony, Boston’s Brandon Workman DID get ejected after throwing inside to Evan Longoria after Price’s second warning. Where was Workman’s second — and third — chance?

Since he threw at Ortiz intentionally, Price deserves a fine and suspension — not just for the intent but for the timing as well. The home run watching did not occur earlier in the same game; it occurred nearly six months ago in a very different situation. Even then, Ortiz did no harm to Price — except for maybe Price’s own pride.

No Red Sox pitcher threw at a Rays player first, and no one tried to retaliate after the Ortiz drilling. David Price deserves a fine and a suspension.

PHOTO CREDIT: www.tampabay.com, May 31, 2014

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