By Dan Connolly
The Baltimore Sun
12:32 AM EDT, July 28, 2013
The Orioles lost 7-3 to the Boston Red Sox on Saturday night.
Stephen Drew had two homers and five RBIs. The Orioles stranded nine baserunners.
But the lasting image from a weird, emotionally charged evening was Boston designated hitter David Ortiz flipping out in the visitor’s dugout, swinging his bat viciously at one of the two wall dugout phones. He crushed the top phone’s cover – that’s the phone that connects to the press box where public relations reps and the official scorer can be reached – scattering pieces and spraying shrapnel everywhere.
Ortiz was angry due to two bad ball calls from home plate umpire Tim Timmons. Initially we thought it was because Timmons had missed Ortiz’s request for a timeout, but Ortiz said that wasn’t the deal. He was taking the whole time on that first pitch and thought both pitches were unquestionably balls.
Honestly, Ortiz was justified in his frustration. Timmons missed the first pitch and, given Ortiz’s animated reaction, it’s not far-fetched to think Timmons called the second ball a strike as a little retribution. Ortiz then swung and missed on the next pitch. He then saluted Timmons as he walked off – which was pretty childish, but again, there was understandable frustration there.
Ortiz, of course, was not justified in bashing the phone – it’s a dangerous act and he could have hurt All Star second baseman Dustin Pedroia, who was sitting nearby and had to cover his head and cower.
Ortiz, who has been ejected 10 times and has the reputation of being one of the bigger complainers in the game, was far from contrite afterward. This is some of what he said to the media:
“What I’m going to tell you is I have 17 years in the league and I don’t think I deserved to be disrespected like that. If you wanna get respect from the player then you respect the player and that was horrible. Both of them pitches, not just the one,” Ortiz said. “Intentionally walk me, I don’t mind going to first base. So why do you have to call pitches like that a strike? It was a ball. The catcher let go and (it) hit him in face. I don’t pitch. I don’t play defense. I hit. You’re not going to take my at-bats away from me.”
Pedroia ended up screaming at Ortiz after the end of the tirade – trying to implore him to stop.
“He (Pedroia) just didn’t want me to go crazy and make it worse. That was horrible. People always focus on when we snap. That’s the reason why you snap. You always look like the bad guy. I’m not the bad guy. I’m just trying to do my job. Don’t take my at-bat away from me like that. When I’m walking away he’s acting like he was right about the call. No you wasn’t right. The whole planet saw you weren’t right. Don’t be giving me that (junk).”
Here was Chris Davis’ take on it: “He was obviously upset. It was a tough call, 3-0 right there. You can’t argue balls and strikes, no matter how bad or how good you think the pitch was. I think he was obviously frustrated. When you go 3-0 like that and you end up striking out, it’s a terrible feeling, especially if you don’t think the pitch is a strike, but everybody gets mad. We’re human. The fact that we do this day-in and day-out and we don’t have emotions or anything like that. That’s part of it. You get frustrated. Hot night, tough night. Sometimes you’ve got to take it out on something. Good thing it was a phone and not a teammate.”
Buck Showalter sidestepped commenting on Ortiz’s antics: “It's all their business. I think everybody was frustrated. It's their business. It didn't affect us. I'm not going to get involved in other team's business unless it affects ours.”
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