Payroll Envy: Benches Clear Between Orioles and Red Sox

Posted: July 9, 2011 by Dan Condie in MLB, Orioles, Red Sox
Tags: , , , , , , ,

“I think you show them that we’re not backing down. We’re not scared of them, them and their $180 million payroll, we don’t care.”

These comments came from Orioles‘ relieving pitcher Kevin Gregg during his post-game interview.

The events leading up to these comments? Well, for starters, let’s look at the reason why Gregg was a part of the game in the first place. The Red Sox put up 8 runs on the Orioles in the first inning, clearly warranting a pitching change and leading to Baltimore’s decision to go “NHL” on Boston.

As hockey fans know, when one team gets a sizable lead on the other and loses control of the momentum, a fight is comin’. Not only will a fight pull attention from the game, giving the losing team a chance to steal back the momentum, it’s also a great way to take some frustration out on the opponent.

Well, with designated hitter David Ortiz at the plate in the bottom of the 8th, Boston up 10-3, Gregg throws 3 straight pitches inside (with the third pitch clearly thrown at Ortiz’ body). Ortiz took exception to that third pitch, approaching the mound, pointing angrily at Gregg and inciting a mild clearing of the benches. Both Ortiz and Gregg received warnings but were allowed to remain in the game.

Then came the fourth pitch.

Ortiz popped the fourth pitch up and Gregg took it upon himself to waive Ortiz down the first base line, upset that Ortiz didn’t sprint to first on a weak pop fly (apparently Kevin has never seen “Big Papi” make a less-than-100% effort in running to first). You can guess what happened then.

Ortiz charged the mound and the two men shoved each other a few times before Gregg threw the first actual punch (which missed). The benches cleared for real this time and Ortiz took a swing right back at Gregg (which also hit air), and both teams shoved and grabbed and yapped.

In the end, four players total were ejected from the game and Boston went on to win 10-3.

The post-game comments were anything but subtle or kind.

Gregg, as referenced earlier, focused his comments on Boston “…think(ing) they’re better than everybody else,” and that the Red Sox’/Ortiz’ reaction to his inside pitching was only his exercising his “…right to play the game here.”

Red Sox starting pitcher Josh Beckett clearly saw things differently, calling Gregg’s actions retaliation for going down 8 runs in the first inning. I think there’s something to that.

You pitch way inside three straight times on a star slugger to compensate for lack of success in the game and then mouth off to him after he pops out, you can’t justify venting your loser frustrations after the game too.

The Orioles may not be scared of the Red Sox or their $180 Mil. payroll, but they sure do care, ‘cuz I’ll bet ya none of the Red Sox know what the Orioles’ payroll is, or care about how the Orioles’ players will spend their time while not playing in the playoffs.


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