In Game 2 of the American League Division Series last October, Boston Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz embarrassed Tamp Bay Rays pitcher David Price by hitting not one, but two home runs in the Sox’s 7-4 victory. Adding insult to injury, Ortiz stayed in the batter’s box while watching his second towering drive soar down the right field line, theoretically waiting to see if the ball was fair or foul. According to Price, there was no reason to watch the ball at all.
“He knows how I’ve pitched him for the last probably year-and-a-half, two years. So he steps in the bucket and hits a homer. And he stares at it to see if it’s fair or foul, I’m sure that’s what he would say, but as soon as he hit it and I saw it I knew it was fair. Run,” Price demanded.
Friday night was the first opportunity Price and Ortiz had to see each other since that eventful night last October; Price was sure to make the most of it.
With one on and two out in the bottom of the first, Price plunked Ortiz in the midsection with a 94 mph fastball. To all of those who witnessed the act, the intent of the pitch was quite apparent.
This Day in Baseball History: David Price was beaten to a bloody pulp by Big Papi David Ortiz.
— Red Sox Clubhouse (@BRSCHouse) May 31, 2014
“David’s a heckuva pitcher. He comes in with two hit batters and eight walks on the year. He’s got the lowest walk rate in the American League. And when he throws a ball and hits David Ortiz in the back, there is intent to that. They can dispute that all they want. There is intent to that pitch,” stated Red Sox manager John Farrell.
Farrell was not the only one for strong words of accusation against Price. The normally gentle giant, Ortiz, had a few choice words for Price as well:
First at-bat of the season against him, he drilled me. That’s means it’s a war. It’s on. Next time he hits me, he better bring the gloves on. I have no respect for him no more.
To prove just how little respect he now has for Price, Ortiz continued in his diatribe.
You can’t be acting like a little girl out there all the time, you give it up, that’s an experience for the next time, but you gonna be acting like a little bitch, every time you give it up, bounce back like that and put your teammates in jeopardy… oh yeah, I was going to let him know… I respect everybody in this league, and I get a certain respect from everybody. If you’re mad because I take you deep twice, I’m gonna let you know. I got almost 500 homers in this league, that’s part of the game son.
Following the game, Price defended his actions by saying that throwing inside was just part of the game plan: “I’ve got to establish my fastball in. I had six lefties in that lineup, that’s my favorite side of the plate to go to. Got to establish it in.”
Ortiz was not about to accept Price’s petty excuse, however: “He knows he screwed up. He did that on his own. No manager was [telling] him. No player was comfortable with the situation. He did that on his own, which is bulls—t, he can get somebody else hurt. You can’t be doing that [expletive].”
Plunking Ortiz was not the end of Price’s night, surprisingly. While Red Sox manager Farrell was ejected for arguing that Price’s pitch warranted an ejection, Price continued to pitch and continued to hit batters.
David Ortiz's post game interview was gold, he might hit like 4 home runs today because he's so mad
— Matherr (@nmather20) May 31, 2014
In the fourth inning of yesterday’s game, Price hit Red Sox first baseman and left fielder Mike Carp, resulting in another ejection for a Red Sox manager, but not Price.
“Again, if we feel there was intent to hit the batter, he would have been ejected. We felt the pitch was certainly inside, but not intentional, so that’s why he stayed in the game,” explained game-umpire Bellino.
Fortunately for the Red Sox and the city of Boston, they were able to pull out a victory in 10 innings, finishing the night with their second walk-off in as many days.
Unfortunately for Price and the Rays, however, there are still two more games to play in Boston. With a history of bad-blood between the two organizations, the next two days will most likely produce more displays of violence.
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