Dude, did David Lynch script that f@#king Sox game? Because that was one of the weirdest things I’ve seen in a long, long time.
First we had Coco vs. Shields, which we kinda knew was coming after Joe Maddon, AKA World’s Hippest Grandpa, called out Covelli for what he considered a dirty slide Wednesday night. Then we had Manny vs. Youk, which was a pretty disturbing thing to watch, conjuring images of Rick Cerrone trying to throw down with Dewey Evans. Somewhere in between it all the Sox won their thirteenth straight home game and bolstered their first place lead to one and a half games.
Although in retrospect he shoulda just manned up and taken first, I gotta say that my love of Coco expanded six times over seven after watching him bound outta the box, fist at the ready, to give James Shields what for. Honestly, I’ve taken great pleasure in watching the Sox push the Rays back down to earth the past couple days, as Maddon looks on helplessly through his hipster eyeware, and last night’s brawl just confirmed what I’d first realized back when Gerald Williams charged Pedro Martinez at the Trop: With or without Piniella, these guys are a buncha douchebags.
Coco had a few more choice words after the game:
“I charged the mound. I feigned it like I was going to go to first base, just to get Navarro off me a little bit, and just charged the mound,” Crisp said. “He tried to hit me with a haymaker. He missed. I threw a punch. I pretty much missed. And the rest, went down to the ground… like the scratches on my face were people trying to scratch like we were playing football or something, like little girls, trying to scratch out my eyes. I move one hand down, scratch me right here [points to scratch to the right of his nose]. “
“After that, people were trying to pull my hair like little girls. Instead of throwing some real punches or something like that… I’m down on the ground, I mean the fight’s pretty much over baseball-term wise. You wanna come in late, and throw some extra blows and get your little blows in, that’s cool. I’ll cover up. It’s all good, trying to pull some hair. It’s all right. It was between me and Shields that time and everybody tried to get their little blows in I think even more… he was unsure if he really wanted to hit me or not it seemed like, ‘cause he didn’t really hit me hard.
Shields kept his gums aflappin’ as well:
“I protected my own players and that’s what we need to do around here,” Shields said. “We’ve been getting stomped around the last 10 years and it isn’t going to happen anymore. I had to let them know early and let them know right away.”
Yeah, we’ll keep that in mind, asshat, as you guys continue your dip to the cellar.
The St. Petersburg Times has an interesting take on the fight, suggesting that the Rays would have been better served to hold off on exacting revenge:
Oh, somewhere down the line, the Rays were going to go after Crisp. For 100 years, baseball has been played that way, and everyone, including Crisp, knows it. After the way Crisp had taken out Tampa Bay second baseman Aki Iwamura the night before, everyone who has ever gripped a bat knew that, eventually, the Rays would take a shot at getting even. Maybe two.
But in the second inning of a game this size? How smart is that? Why not wait until the eighth inning of a game that has already been decided? Why not wait until the next time the teams played? What not drive Coco cuckoo from the waiting for revenge to be served cold?
Instead, Shields plunked Crisp right away, and Crisp charged the mound, and suddenly, YouTube had itself a brand new fight scene.
And just like that, the Rays’ chances of winning were done.
“I’m all about protecting my players,” Shields said. “What he did yesterday was absolutely a dirty play and bush league. If I’ve got to get out in the second inning, I’ve got to get out.”
And the idea of biding one’s time until a later moment?
“I thought I should set the precedence right away,” Shields said.
When the brawl was over, the umpires ejected Crisp, Shields and Jonny Gomes. Ask yourself this: In what world would you ever trade Shields and Gomes for Coco Crisp?
Put it this way: Getting those two out of the lineup is the most damage that Crisp could possibly do to the Rays. In hindsight, that might be the worst realization of all: The Rays were rope-a-doped by Coco Crisp.
Indeed. But as the dust clears and suspensions are handed out, it’s the Manny-Youk thing that’s still troubling me.