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Saturday, May 26, 2012

Could fight with Rays ignite the Red Sox?

Their team was down 7-4, but Red Sox fans who stuck around for the end of Friday's game against the Rays at Fenway Park had to be intrigued by what they saw in the top of the ninth inning.

Carlos Pena (left) and Bob McClure have a chat.

The fight that ignited after Boston pitcher Franklin Morales drilled Tampa Bay's Luke Scott in the leg with a fastball had a lot more energy than your typical baseball fracas. The pushing, shoving, and yelling lasted far longer than normal, and managers and coaches played a prominent role in the scrap.

Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine was in the thick of the action, having to be restrained by several of his players. Usually mild-mannered Boston coaches Tim Bogar and Bob McClure were also among those doing a lot of the screaming, most of it directed at their Tampa Bay counterparts.

The home crowd got to see a strong peace-making presence by David Ortiz, who came under scrutiny for his "I get no respect" comments earlier in the week and looked like a leader during the melee. In a season that has lacked the sense of urgency and commitment fans were hoping to see after last September's Red Sox collapse, this may be just the spark the team needs.

So might Valentine's comments after the game about Scott, who earlier this year was quoted as calling Fenway fans "vulgar" and the 100-year-old ballpark "a dump." 

Luke Scott brings out the best in Red Sox fans.

"Boys will be boys," Valentine said. "It seemed like both teams were on the field. With the guy getting hit? Maybe it was the Ghost of Fenway Past remembering he bad-mouthed all our fans and our stadium, directing the ball at his leg."

t's way too early to know if a fight with one of their AL East rivals will have a positive impact on the underachieving, injury-riddled Red Sox, who fell to 22-23 with the loss and once again failed to get over .500 for the first time this season. But there is an example from the not-so-distant past that suggests it could.

Tek gives A-Rod a mouthful of mitt.

In 2004, the Red Sox were 52-44 (.542) and trailing in the Wild Card race when Boston catcher Jason Varitek and Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez came to blows at Fenway after A-Rod was hit by a pitch. The Sox went 46-20 (.697) the rest of the season, beat New York in the ALCS, and won their first World Series title in 86 years.

There was no "glove in the face" moment in this fight, but Scott, like A-Rod, is a guy Fenway fans (and likely more than a few Boston players) love to hate. Can the Red Sox channel that hatred into a streak similar to 2004?


  1. Lets hope so- The sox need a wake up call, seems like the starting pitching just cannot get consistent enough for this team to push past the bulkhead doors....and out of the cellar.

    1. Yes, it's very frustrating that Lester, especially, can't seem to put things together. Until they can get consistent performances from at least three starters, they are not going anywhere.

    2. Lester has been getting hosed by the umps all season, and its really looking suspicious, if you ask me...
      this is what leads to him throwing closer to the middle of the plate, and getting rocked

      i thought the umps sucked last year, but this year they have brought it to new lows

    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    4. Interesting hypothesis, Maureeen. Why do you think the umps have it out for Lester? Too much complaining in the past about being squeezed out, or perhaps they are vegetarians?

    5. The pitching just has to be better, umps or not- that said, Lester was indeed being squeezed a bit Friday, and it cost him big time- better to give up the walk than throw a meatball with sauce down the pike....right Aceves??

    6. Tell me about it. When Aceves gives them up, they sure leave the park fast.