Orioles react to benches-clearing incident
By now, you've probably seen the highlights of Boston Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz charging Orioles closer Kevin Gregg in the eighth inning tonight of the Orioles' 10-3 loss. Ortiz was ticked that Gregg threw three straight pitches inside to start the at-bat, and then yelled at him as he jogged to first base after popping out. Gregg was sick of watching Ortiz beat up on Orioles' pitching, objected to his reaction to three balls that really never came close to hitting him, and didn't appreciate the fact that he swung at a 3-0 pitch with the Red Sox leading by seven runs. I'll let the Orioles talk about the rest below (Ortiz, by the way, left the clubhouse before reporters were allowed in so nothing from him until tomorrow):
"To me, it’s a situation [with] Ortiz, the place to get him out is in. You got to pitch him in. The first pitch wasn’t too far off the corner and he jumped away like it was at his head. Next pitch was a little bit further in, he didn’t like it, he stared at me. I’m still going to go in there. I’m not going to let him lean over the plate like he did to [Brad Bergesen], lined a ball back up the middle. He’s hitting stuff off the wall, he’s real comfortable in there. The best way to get him out is pitch him in. I’m pitching him in, 3-0, they are up seven. I think there is some ethics to the game you got to stay within. Run. Hit a fly ball, a lazy fly ball, you got to run the bases. Apparently he didn’t like me telling him that stuff and he came out there. It’s part of the game. He has a right to come out there. I’m going to defend myself if he comes out."
"There’s 17 inches on the plate. You got to use all 17 inches. If you don’t, you are going to get your [butt] kicked every time you go out there. So that’s what we’re doing, that’s what I was doing when I was out there. They are going to whine and complain about it because they think they are better than everybody else. But no, we have just as much right to pitch inside as they do. Everybody’s frustrated. It’s part of the game."
"We are playing the game of baseball. You got to go ask David what he was thinking. It’s 3-0 and you are up seven runs and the opposing pitcher gets upset with you hitting a weak fly ball and not running. If he thinks there’s something [wrong] with me saying that, than he’s got other things he needs to figure out in this game."
"This is a team sport. I take offense to every run scored off every one of our pitchers. I take offense to every one of our hitters that’s hit every time out there. We are a family. We spend more time with these 25 guys than I do with my own family, and I take it personal. And so, to be able to go out there, you get tired of getting your butt kicked every night when you come in here. I’m going to stick up for what ours and try to get the plate back. I think you showed them that we are not backing down. We are not scared of them and their $180 million payroll. We don’t care. We are here to play the game. We have just as much right to play the game here, and we are going to do everything we can to win."
"I’m not going to get into all of that, he said, she said, we said, all that stuff. It is what it is. It’s a game played by passionate men who care about what they are doing. We’re kind of wounded right now. I’m sure he took some exception to him swinging 3-0 there, and I’m sure he took exception to him pitching in. It’s part of the game. There’s a lot of things that led up to that, that some people probably didn’t notice. But we did."
"I’m proud of them. They handled it the right way. We’re a little wounded and some things happen out there that kind of wakens wounded people. We’ll see what happens."
"It’s the way Kevin pitches, it's the way [Jim Johnson] pitches. I just wish other guys take notice because you can’t constantly allow other guys to get extended and feel real comfortable all the time."
"I like the guy, I like Ortiz. I respect the way he plays the game, but I think it was a little bush league, bottom of the eighth, up by six, two outs, swinging 3-0. I don’t think we were hitting anybody intentionally there. If it has to come down to that, it has to come down to it. He knows how to play the game. I think he’s going to look back at it and realize that he screwed up there, but what happened, happened. It’s over."
"I don’t understand why he went after him. It’s a 3-0 pitch, two outs and you have a guy tagging up and a guy swinging at a 3-0 pitch in a six-run game. It doesn’t make sense. He knows the game better than that. Put them on our side and us on their side. It’s a little bush league. Like I said, I’m sure he’s going to look back and realize that he made a mistake, especially charging our pitcher regardless of what was said."
"If you ask me, this happened in the right spot at the right time. We still got two more games left with these guys and we have seven more games after the break. We’re going to see them. We’re going to get our opportunities and they’re going to get their opportunities. We’ll see how it works out."
"You hate to see it, but it was sure-as-[heck] necessary in that situation. We’ve been getting hit around a bit and [forget] it, we took some blows back. That livens everything up in here. We need to come out and use that as some ammo."
"You have to stand up for yourself. I’m not mad as how that situation escalated one bit. We’ll just use it as an ammo and get after that, and hopefully that energy carries us into tomorrow, and the second half of the season."
Proud of Gregg: "Exactly, 100 percent. Couldn’t be prouder."
"Pretty crazy. It’s part of the game but those two pitches - I was in here watching the game - the two pitches that Gregg threw to Papi weren’t even close. So it was unnecessary for him to stare in and act like a tough guy. Kevin’s not going to back down if you are going to stare at him like that. There’s no reason we are trying to hit him. We are getting our [butts] kicked, we are not trying to hit him. That’s what you get. Big Papi, he is what he is. And that’s what happens."
"The atmosphere in here right now is great. I’m not saying this is what baseball is about, but I think this brought us a little closer."